There are more women working in sports broadcasting now that at any time before. But, as the Erin Andrews case demonstrated, the threats to the privacy and overall safety to the women working these jobs might also be at an all-time high. Following the news of a jury’s decision to award Erin Andrews $55 million in damages years after a stalker was able to tamper with a hotel door peephole and record nude videos of the sportscaster, which he then disseminated online, The New York Times spoke with several women who work in front of the camera covering sports and often ply their trade in male-dominated places sometimes ripe with frenzied fans. Make no mistake, there is very much a dark side of the job that becomes apparent in subtle and sometimes very explicit ways — differentiating the enthusiastic fan from the obsessive stalker can be tricky.
One of the disturbing stories the Times chronicled was shared by longtime sports broadcaster Andrea Kremer. In 1988, Kremer, now a sideline reporter for the NFL Network, was working for NFL films. One night on the road, as she was drifting off to sleep in a hotel room, her phone rang. She answered, and a threatening man was on the other end of the line. “He started saying all these things he wanted to do to me, and it scared the living hell out of me,” she remembered. Kremer called the hotel front desk, which traced the call to a phone somewhere inside the hotel. Then, he called back, his words once again jolting Kremer. “I was shaking. My heart was beating fast.” The hotel then posted a security guard outside her hotel room door.
Laura Okmin, a sideline reporter for Fox coverage of NFL games, dealt with a harrowing stalker in the mid-1990s. Eventually, her stalker became so belligerent and creepy, the police had to intervene. But Okmin has taken those frightening experiences and used them for a positive agenda years later. She now runs a seminar for young women entering the sports broadcasting business, and mentions those experiences as a cornerstone of the lessons she imparts on the next generation.
Read the full story at The New York Times.