It came as a surprise to us all when veteran sports-broadcaster Pam Oliver, 53, was suddenly replaced by Erin Andrews, 36, after 19 seasons of service as a sideline reporter at the Fox Sports network. Oliver was offered a position at Fox’s fledgling secondary cable sports channel to give the “FS1 more reporting credibility.” The decision sparked major backlash from supporters, who accused Fox of ageism and racism. Oliver finally opened up, to Essence, about the shady business move.
“Even before my bosses told me what was going on, there had been rumblings that my days as a sideline reporter were coming to an end,” she revealed. “But I let the rumors roll off my back. Without official confirmation about a change in my position, I decided I was going to do my work like I always had. Still, I was humiliated.”
Oliver was informed of her position change in April, during a face-to-face meeting with her boss. “It took a while, but eventually it got down to them saying they wanted to ‘change direction within the company,’ she said. “They wanted me to work primarily on specials and long-form stories, but I told them I still wanted to do sideline reporting. It was important to me to have a twentieth season—to end on 19 is wack! I wanted 20.”
While Oliver took the news with grace around her colleagues, she broke down in private. “When we said our good-byes, there were hugs all around. I thought I’d handled it pretty well, but when I left the restaurant, I got into my car and noticed my hands were shaking. I was like, ‘Okay, that hurt.'”
It took Oliver two weeks to recover as she struggled with thoughts about future Sunday nights that didn’t include the chill from the NFL sideline. “I woke up and said to myself, Okay, I’m supposed to learn something from this. My first step was to get back to my routine. Every morning I begin my day the same way: meditate, pray and affirm. I call it my “P.O. Power Hour” because it fortifies me. Through all the changes, I had abandoned the things that help me the most, and then I was wondering why I was so miserable!”
After Oliver got back into her therapeutic routine, she realized that her new job wasn’t a death sentence. “At times I’m ashamed of how tragic I was making things out to be. It’s just a job change. I’m not out on the streets. I’m not unemployed. Everybody wins: Fox gets its coveted reporter in the lead role and I get to do my sideline job for my twentieth and final year. I’m also looking forward to developing stories that interest me and delivering long-form pieces for FS1. That kind of work is like being in reporter heaven.” She added, “I’m headed into this season knowing it’s time to say my good-byes. I’m going savor every moment.”
We’re inspired by Oliver resilience, however disheartening it may be. Her story is just proof that despite one’s work ethic, appearance seems to be what matters. How shallow…
Read the full interview on Essence.com.
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"