What is the Real Reason Pam Oliver was Demoted?

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In a somewhat shocking announcement on Monday, Fox announced the demotion of longtime NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver in favor of Erin Andrews. Oliver has been a broadcaster for 19 years, but will spend her 20th and final season on the network’s number two team. It’s a somewhat dignified exit for one of football’s most well-respected broadcasters.

Upon hearing the news, I had a few reactions:

Pam Oliver is 53?!?

Black don’t crack. For real.

The obvious question: what was the real reason?

I do my best not to jump to race as the main factor when I read news like this.

Of course I know racism exists, but I also believe in the existence of assholes. I believe A LOT of what sparks outrage, from police tactics to terrible restaurant service, is the result of terrible people having worse days.

To be sure, the fact that I (or any other minority) even has to ponder the question only reinforces the point, but that’s a discussion on White Privilege for a university classroom. Back to the post.

So, was Oliver’s removal linked to her race? Her gender? Age?

It certainly wasn’t because of performance. Eric Shanks, the President of Fox Sports, said as much:

“I can’t think of a more respected person in the entire industry than Pam Oliver, and when you find out that Pam is going to be doing the interview, I don’t think you would say that anyone else would do the interview better. Her being a part of the Fox family now and in the future is really important to us. The move is hugely positive to where Fox Sports is going and building its journalistic chops and credibility 365 days and not just 17 days a year.”

So…why move her off the job?

I think there are a couple factors:

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-       Oliver is 53. And despite her lack of cracking, there are only so many 50+ women in sports journalism.

-       Erin Andrews is a star. She’s been on Good Morning America, Dancing With the Stars, and a quick Googling will show you that her appeal transcends sports. Fox is doing its best to manufacture Andrews’ stardom into something bigger, something TV networks do all the time. It’s a shallow business, and more viewers on Andrews means her fame will continue to grow organically.

-       Andrews is solid. Oliver is more seasoned, but Andrews can do the job. If you have two capable candidates, it’s reasonable to give the spotlight to the one with the brighter future.

Last question: Is this so bad?

Though Oliver is being demoted, (and removed from the sidelines next season), she signed a multi-year deal to remain with Fox. She’ll get the chance to do varied work on Fox, Fox Sports One, and Showtime.

As a sideline reporter, Oliver had the main spotlight 17 times a year. In her new role, she’ll have the chance to do good work more often (albeit for a smaller audience). Maybe that tradeoff can work out well.

That’s my take. What do you think? Is Pam Oliver’s loss something you’ll notice? What do you think the motives were? Most importantly, is Lisa Salters happy or nervous today? Don’t answer that last one.

Hit the comments and give me your thoughts!

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  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    Its Rodgers over Favre. There’s no question Pam can still do her job but eventually u gotta let the youngin shine.

  • alisonbullock

    Just FYI…That’s not Erin Andrews in the pic on the left…

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Yeah I just found that out. Carrie Underwood looks an awful lot like Erin Andrews to me, lol. Google let me down.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Now with correct photo. I need a Vanity Fair or something. Gotta brush up.

  • Lashuntrice

    I wonder if Pam Oliver could have asked to have a lower position. She’s one of my idols, being in the journalism industry and a FAMU graduate. However, last year she was hit with a football in the face and said it affected her a lot right after it happened. Also, she’s 53? WOW!

  • JOhn Crawford

    I think folks are still giving her sympathy after that Stalker incident some years back. Honestly, Erin Andrews is just not that pretty to me

  • Courtney Sanders

    I think age is the determining factor, football is a man’s sport, and the powers that be in the sports network like young eye candy and they know that’s what keeps men watching. Like the question he presented how many 50+ women do you see in sports, however Linda Cohn is in her 50′s and she is still a prominent factor on sports center and I’ve been watching since ’92 and she’s still on there. And although black don’t crack, I’ve seen better looking 50 yr olds Angela Bassett comes to mind

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