No sideline reporters, mascots or cheerleaders on NFL field this season

Bridget Condon Image
Friday, September 4, 2020
No sideline reporters, mascots, cheerleaders on NFL field this year
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"By taking sideline reporters off the sidelines they are disproportionately affecting women," said longtime sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The sidelines are going to look a lot different this fall at football games especially in the NFL where reporters are banned from the field because of COVID-19. Longtime sideline reporter Lisa Salters is hoping that changes.

"By taking sideline reporters off the sidelines they are disproportionately affecting women," said Salters. "Most of us on the sidelines are women, if you're saying each broadcast can have 10, 20, I don't know how many people on the field, let us decide how we break that down if it's 18 cameras a sideline reporter and a producer--or 19 cameras and a sideline reporter. It's one thing if you say no one is on the sideline but you can't say some people are on the sideline but we're not going to allow sideline reporters because then you're affecting only women."

According to a COVID-19 protocol established by the NFL and NFL player's association no cheerleaders, mascots or sideline reporters will be allowed on the field during the 2020 season.

"My initial reaction to that was how am I supposed to do my job," said Salters. "Now I am just trying to each day kind of think of ways to think outside the box. To report in ways that maybe I haven't had to before. It's definitely going to be unique, and it's definitely going to be a challenge."

WATCH: Full interview with Lisa Salters

Salters, who spent some time in the NBA bubble this summer, said this is a historic and unprecedented time. She believes it could be an opportunity to tell player's stories that maybe they would've shied away from before or didn't have enough time to tell.

"That is how it played out in the NBA bubble," she said. Stories that I knew about and the many that I did not. That was the one thing that surprised me most about talking to players is that they all had their own instances, situations, things that had happened to them where they felt they had been profiled or stereotyped or outright called the 'n' word or whatever. I was like wow I didn't realize...It's what drew me into the profession, to be able to tell stories, to tell other people's stories."

Salters hopes the NFL follows suit to the NBA in not just playing but demanding change and justice.

"The NBA slogan is 'a whole new game.' I hope that we just don't try to go back to the same NFL like we're just going to play football, we're just going to play football. I hope that doesn't happen. I would hope that the NFL players would want to use their platform as well, but you can't make anyone do anything. It will be interesting to see how things shake out on Thursday the 10th of September--that will be the first game and then the full slate of games on Sunday the 13th and then we open up on Monday night. I'll be in Denver the Titans vs. Broncos but I hope it's about more than the Titans vs. Broncos, that's what I'm hoping."