Michele Tafoya fired back at Lisa Guerrero’s experience on “Monday Night Football.”
In 2004, Tafoya succeeded Guerrero on the MNF sidelines after the latter was let go only one year in. Guerrero recently gave an interview to People magazine about her new memoir, in which she spoke about suffering a miscarriage on-air and about the criticism she received from her bosses at ABC and the general public over her broadcasting.
On her podcast “Sideline Sanity” last week, Tafoya gave a lengthy commentary in reaction to Guerrero’s interview.
In response to Guerrero saying she wanted to be the Barbara Walters of sports, Tafoya said, “Barbara Walters [was] one of the toughest people on the planet. You’ve gotta be tough if you want to succeed at the pinnacle of any industry, whether it’s orthopedic surgery, being an astronaut, working for NASA, sports reporting or the nightly news. It’s a tough business, and it’s what you sign up for. You either cut it or you can’t. She wanted to be the Barbara Walters? I contend she was not tough enough if that’s what she really wanted to be.”
Tafoya addressed Guerrero’s revelation that she suffered a miscarriage.
“I’ve had multiple miscarriages,” Tafoya said. “I’ve talked openly about my struggles to have a baby, about my adoption of my second child. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Losing a pregnancy between eight and 12 weeks is not uncommon. If it was such pain that she’s carried for 20 years and her best friends still have to buy the book to learn about it, I see a disconnect there.”
“It’s her story to tell. But, having been through similar things, trust me when I tell you, my best friends knew.”
Tafoya said that there was one time in her career where she suffered a miscarriage when she was assigned to cover the Pro Bowl, and another time where she thought she had again but was mistaken. In both of those cases, she said her bosses were extremely accommodating.
“That was some serious crap in my life,” Tafoya said. “And trust me when I tell you that all my best friends know about that. I don’t know why you would wait to publish a book 15 years after the fact to reveal that to your best friends, and so I have my hesitation, was this truly a devastating miscarriage? But it’s her story to tell. I’m just trying to draw a little bit of a parallel there to let you know how I was feeling when I went through those things in similar circumstances.”
Tafoya also defended executive producer Fred Gaudelli, who Guerrero accused of being hostile in his criticism. Tafoya worked with Gaudelli for nearly 13 years, first at ABC and later on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
“He’s a Hall of Fame producer for a reason,” Tafoya said. “He demands excellence. He raises the bar every single day. You either want to make that journey with him or you don’t. If you don’t, you don’t have to take the job. You don’t have to stay in the job. There’s no shame in that. But to blame your shortcomings or your failures or your mistakes on other people is an easy way out, and it seems to be a way that a lot of people want to go these days.”
“I am so grateful for the direction that I received from Fred Gaudelli and for the support. I’d say that he, Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and the late great John Madden championed me. They sustained me. They helped me reach the bar that I wanted to reach for. They made me want to be better. We all worked our asses off, individually and as a team, and that’s what you do to stay at the pinnacle.”