Lisa Guerrero was often considered “the luckiest woman in sports” after landing her dream job as a correspondent. Monday night football in 2013. In her new book warrior reveals how the role turned into a nightmare that took her to a dark place.
Producer Freddie Gaudelli hired Guerrero with the intention of changing the landscape of sports broadcasting by incorporating a reporter who also leaned into entertainment, Guerrero explained in an excerpt published by Sports Illustrated. But it ended up being outside opinions about her appearance, her knowledge and her worth as a sports reporter that became a point of contention between her and her employer.
“”Nothing but a telemarketer reader.” ‘A ridiculous new low for the ABC.’ ‘Another example of looks trumping talent.’ “A bimbo.” “A blow to women.” said Guerrero as some of the responses to the announcement of her hiring. “What had I done to spark such anger? I was surprised, hurt and completely confused by the media reaction.”
As audiences brushed aside Guerrero’s past decade of experience as a sports reporter, they leaned into what they called a “controversial past” as a model, actress and cheerleader. Eventually, photos of the reporter were released that made her the beginning Monday night football in danger.
“I had done a photo shoot for FHM, a men’s lifestyle magazine, which was scheduled to launch at the start of the football season. This was a strategic decision to promote my brand and raise my profile while I was there [The Best Damn Sports Show Period]. But when the media got hold of photos of me in black and white underwear, it reinforced their perception that I had been hired Monday night football for all the wrong reasons.”
Guerrero recalled that Disney executives were “furious” when they learned of the photo shoot and questioned its place in their “family-friendly show.” However, he described the reaction as “fake shock” as the company’s publicity department reportedly ended up negotiating with FHM to put her on the cover.
“Then, for the promotional photos for the show, I posed in a blue blazer next to it [co-hosts Al Michaels and John Madden]. However, the photos that made the cut, including the Times Square billboard, were not from that official ABC photo shoot,” he continued. “Instead, without my permission, they put up a photo — in which I was wearing a tube with gold sequins. top and a look that came out of here—that came from a modeling gig I had done years earlier.”
While Guerrero believed she was initially hired for her qualifications, she noticed that the negative publicity had an impact on her working relationships and how much her producer trusted her to do the job.
“A lot of eyes would also be on me — judging me, writing about me, commenting on me. Any flicker would be magnified. My outfit and makeup — even my lip gloss — would be scrutinized,” she said of the time leading up to it. in its first game of the regular season Monday night football. And despite all her preparation, the producer instructed her to memorize the words he would write for her and not to improvise.
“I thought I knew what was behind this request. Freddy may have been embarrassed by the media’s portrayal of me. I felt he couldn’t fire me because I was his first hire,” he wrote. “So instead of firing me, Freddy would micromanage me. Maybe he thought he’d be the mastermind behind the bimbo.”
Guerrero continued, “I had been writing my script for a decade, but suddenly I felt like I was reduced to a ventriloquist’s dummy. When I voiced Freddy’s words, it felt unnatural. It didn’t sound like me. I felt like an actress playing a role I wasn’t meant to play.” play. And there were critics who got it. They’d say it looked awkward, that I glanced at my notebook too much. But I had been directed by Freddie to deliver his script verbatim. If I didn’t, I’d be outfitted.”
She recalled Gaudelli yelling into her earpiece as she broadcast live and suffered from the pressure to excel at her job with all the things against her. This discomfort stayed with her at all hours of the day and night, even in her happiest moments.
Now an award-winning investigative journalist, Guerrero can’t believe how dark she got as she wrote about her engagement to baseball player boyfriend Scott Erickson, who had suffered from an undercurrent of depression. “Who decides to get married when they are thinking about killing themselves?’ he remembered thinking.
He also talked about a miscarriage while reporting live sports.
“I didn’t see that I was in a dangerous downward spiral. I didn’t see that I was completely detached from reality. I didn’t see how sick I was—mentally and physically. I was completely checked out.” she wrote
After this experience, he 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 Freddy have so much control over me.” he said. he said. “During the last few games, I stopped memorizing Freddy’s notes. I spoke in my own voice. I took my earpiece off during my reports. That way, if Freddy yelled at me, I wouldn’t know it never.”
If you or someone you know is having 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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