Charissa Thompson currently serves as host on FOX's NFL Kickoff. In 2008, she was an NFL sideline reporter for the network, and during the season, decided to dye her hair brunette in order to "rid (herself) of the Barbie thing."
Thompson intended to be taken more seriously as a reporter with her the new hair color. Instead, she was mocked for it, and went back to her normal look a few weeks later. Thompson shared the impact of the event during an interview that aired on HBO's Real Sports over the weekend. It was part of a segment on the issues that women in sports media face.
Thompson specifically cites a Deadspin post by former editor A.J. Daulerio titled "Charissa Thompson Continues Down Suicidal Path to Frumpyville."
If this is an attempt for Thompson to be taken more seriously as a sideline reporter, somebody should shake her before this goes too far. Next week she'll add a prosthetic pregnant belly and one of those weird animal hats Lesley Visser used to wear.
After the switch back to her normal blonde look, Daulerio followed up with a post titled "Charissa Thompson Wisely Returns to Hair Color Prefered by Boner-Popping NFL Viewership."
It's not that she looked horrible with the cat glasses and the brunette locks, but it was an extreme transformation that seemed to have a distinct purpose: now people will take her more seriously. That didn't last too long. Yesterday, Thompson sashayed the sidelines at the Detroit/Carolina game and has apparently ditched the specs and the brown hair to return back to her Baywatch-blondeness, as seen in this portfolio on Fitsnews. Welcome back to the hussy club, Charissa.
Daulerio, who is one of the figures at the center of the Gawker/Hulk Hogan trial, spoke to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch after the same story was shared on his podcast, and reportedly asked for Thompson's e-mail to apologize for the articles.
The Deadspin reaction to Thompson dyeing her hair is fairly indicative of a central issue that women in the industry face. Women are both criticized for wearing anything deemed "too revealing," but also catch heat for making changes to their looks that some deem less appealing, even if done for professional purposes.
This story also dovetails with the horrifying Twitter story shared earlier today by ESPN's Jen Lada, about a job interview that quickly turned into some serious sexual harassment, and the lack of response by a major market station when it was reported.
These two stories prove that we still have some major leaps to take in curbing sexism in the sports media industry.