Pam Oliver is a legend who doesn’t need anyone to defend her. She’s been producing stellar on-air work since before many of the people trolling her were even alive. But after a report during the divisional matchup between the Rams and the Packers on Saturday, many people decided to come for the broadcasting veteran.
Some said she was drunk, and others went so far as to imply she was having a stroke.
I’m all for cracking jokes on the timeline but what we aren’t going to do is attack Oliver’s professionalism and, most importantly, we aren’t going to insinuate that she’s going through a very serious medical condition for the sake of getting a few notifications on your phone.
It’s more than clear that either the cold impacted Oliver’s ability to speak or she just had an off day. She’s entitled to have one of those after more than three decades in the broadcast industry.
As a Black woman and HBCU alum, Oliver has set an example for any marginalized individual trying to break their way into a career in sports — even in 2021, white men still hold an overwhelming majority of jobs in sports. So when you have someone like Oliver, who has been a fixture on the Fox sideline for more than 25 years, she must be protected at all costs.
Oliver has been in the broadcast industry for more than 35 years and has carried herself with class and grace for the entirety of her career. She became an NABJ Hall of Famer, a Gracie Award winner, and a Lifetime Achievement Award winner from Atlanta Women in Sports while battling crippling migraines for more than 30 years and dealing with vulgar comments from coaches behind her back.
Oliver is likely one of the biggest reasons we see an influx of young Black women reporting on sports today. In Saturday’s game at Lambeau field, Kristina Pink, another black reporter who is starting to get a more expanded role with the network, joined Oliver covering the sidelines.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor and Malika Andrews are both young Black women rising in sports media as well.
It can’t be overstated the level of impact that people like Oliver have provided to the next generation of Black women in sports.
Oliver is a legend and should be treated as such.
Next time you try to come for her, don’t.