Lisa Guerrero says FHM photoshoot sabotaged her job at ‘Monday Night Football’

Lisa Guerrero explains how a photo became an obstacle in her Monday Night Football career before it even started.  (Photo: Getty Images)

Lisa Guerrero explains how a photograph became an obstacle within her Monday night football career before it even started. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lisa Guerrero was often referred to as “the luckiest woman in sports” after landing her dream job as a sideline correspondent for Monday night football in 2013. In her new book Warrior she reveals how the role turned into a nightmare that led her to a dark place.

Producer Freddie Gaudelli hired Guerrero with the goal of changing the landscape of sports broadcasting by including a reporter who also leaned toward entertainment, Guerrero explained in an excerpt published by Sports Illustrated. But it was ultimately external opinions about her appearance, her knowledge and her value as a sports reporter that became a point of contention between her and her employer.

“‘Nothing but a teleprompter reader.’ “A ridiculous new low for ABC.” “Another example of looks being prioritized over talent.” “A bimbo.” “A battle for women.” Guerrero listed as some of the reactions to the announcement of her appointment. “What did I do to ignite such anger? I was stunned, hurt and completely bewildered by the media’s response.”

While audiences brushed aside Guerrero’s previous decade of experience as a sports reporter, they leaned into what they called her “controversial past” as a model, actor and cheerleader. Finally, photos were released of the reporter starting with her Monday night football in danger.

“I did a photo shoot for FHM, a men’s lifestyle magazine, which was scheduled at the start of the football season. It was a strategic decision to promote my brand and raise my profile while I was around [The Best Damn Sports Show Period]. But when the media got the photos of me dressed in black and white underwear, it reinforced their idea that I was hired on Monday night football for all the wrong reasons.”

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Guerrero recalled that Disney executives were “furious” when they found out about the photo shoot and questioned her place on their “family-friendly broadcast.” However, she fueled the reaction to ‘feigned shock’ as the company’s publicity department reportedly ended negotiations with FHM to put her on the front page.

“Then, for the show’s promotional photos, I posed in a powder blue jacket next to it [co-hosts Al Michaels and John Madden]. Yet the photos that made the cut, including on a Times Square billboard, were not from that official ABC photo shoot,” she continued. “Instead, without my permission, they posted a photo — in which I wore a gold sequin tube top and a come-hither look – this was taken from a modeling gig I did years before.”

While Guerrero believed she was originally hired for her qualifications, she noted that the negative publicity had an impact on her working relationships and how much her producer trusted her to do the job.

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“A lot of eyes will be on me too – judging me, writing about me, commenting on me. Any flub will be magnified. My outfit and make-up – even my lip gloss – will be scrutinised,” she said. said about the time leading into the first regular season game of Monday night football. And despite all her preparation, her producer instructed her to memorize the words he would write for her and not to improvise.

“I believed I knew what was behind this request. Perhaps Freddie was embarrassed by the media’s portrayal of me. I felt he could not fire me because I was his first hire,” she wrote. “So instead of firing me, Freddie would micromanage me. Maybe he thought he’d be the brains behind the bimbo.”

Guerrero continued, “I had been writing my copy for a decade, but suddenly I felt like a ventriloquist’s dummy. When I delivered Freddie’s words, it was unnatural. It didn’t sound like me. I felt like an actress playing a role I wasn’t meant to play. And there were critics who picked up on that. They’d say I looked awkward, that I was looking at my notebook too much. But Freddie instructed me given to deliver his script verbatim. If I didn’t, I’d be exterminated.”

She recalled Gaudelli screaming into her earpiece while doing live broadcasts and suffering under the pressure to excel at her job with everything stacked against her. That suffering stayed with her at all hours of the day and night, even in her happiest moments.

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Now an award-winning investigative journalist, Guerrero can’t believe how dark it got as she wrote about her engagement to baseball player boyfriend Scott Erickson soured by the undercurrent of depression. “Who decides to get married when they are also considering killing themselves?” she remembered thinking.

She also opened up about a miscarriage while doing a live sports report.

“I didn’t see that I was on a dangerous downward spiral. I didn’t see that I was completely disconnected from reality. I didn’t see how sick I was—mentally and physically. I was completely checked out.” she wrote.

After that experience, she decided to take a stand.

“I thought about everything I had lost on that sideline—my dignity, my courage, and now my pregnancy. There was nothing left to take. In that moment, I vowed to stop letting Freddie control me so much too late,” she said. said. “During the last few games, I stopped memorizing Freddie’s notes. I spoke in my own voice. I took my earpiece off during my reports. That way, if Freddie yelled at me, I’d never know. “

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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