Wikipedia Vandalism/Lesley Visser

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Lesley Visser (born September 11, 1953 in Quincy, Massachusetts) is an American sportscaster, radio personality, television personality, and sportswriter. She is the only sportscaster, male or female, who has worked on the network broadcasts of the Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Monday Night Football, the Winter Olympics, the Summer Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Figure Skating Championships and the U.S. Open. She is currently working as a reporter for CBS Sports and CBS News. Returning to her roots, Visser now writes for CBSSports.com. Visser joined a local radio station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to be part of their morning show a few days per week. She can be heard regularly on Fridays–Sundays on WFTL 640 Fox Sports (WMEN, Boca Raton) as part of "South Florida's First Team". She is well known for her TV stint at CBS Sports.

Biography

Lesley Visser *[1] added another first to her long and prestigious trailblazing career as the first woman to be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the 2006 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award which recognizes long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman said about Visser in his 2006 induction speech, "She brought respect and professionalism to the field of journalism for her work in print and broadcasting. It makes me proud to be in her company today."

As a child she was a big sports fan. "When I decided I wanted to be a woman sportswriter, which was when I was 12, the job didn't exist." (12) In high school she captained the field hockey and basketball teams and as a sophomore was named the school's best athlete.

A pioneer among women sports journalists *[2], Visser re-joined CBS Sports in August 2000 after a six-year hiatus. She serves as correspondent for the network's NFL on CBS programming, as well as for Tennis, College Basketball on CBS, and horse racing programming.

Female sportscasters may be ho-hum news today, but thirty years ago it was a different story, and Lesley Visser can tell you all about it. A true pioneer, she counts numerous historic firsts among her accomplishments, including first female beat reporter to cover the NFL, MLB, and NBA, first female member of the Monday Night Football announcing team, first woman sportscaster to preside over the post–Super Bowl presentation of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, first woman analyst in an NFL broadcast booth, first woman Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Final Four, and the World Series sideline reporter, and first female sportscaster to carry the Olympic torch. But Visser remembers a time when credentials specifically barred women and children from press boxes, women’s restrooms were nowhere to be found in the press area, and players and coaches were rude and threatening and refused to allow women reporters access to locker rooms. Through it all, Visser persevered, covering every major sporting event—from the NBA Finals to Super Bowl to the World Series to the Final Four to the Triple Crown to the Olympics—earning tremendous respect from both broadcasters and athletes, and blazing a trail that eased the way for the generations of female sportscasters who followed.

Events

Visser has covered many big events:

Honors

Visser was honored by the American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. in June 2006 as the first woman sportscaster recipient of a Gracie Allen Award which celebrates programming created for women, by women and about women, as well as individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry. This year,Template:When she became the first woman sportscaster to host the Gracie Awards. Visser also, this year, received the Emily Couric Leadership Award—previously given to Sandra Day O'Connor, Caroline Kennedy and Donna Brazile—and this fallTemplate:When she will be honored at the 22nd Annual Sports Legend Dinner, to benefit the Buoniconti fund to cure paralysis. In 2005 she won the Pop Warner female achievement award and was inducted into the New England Sports Museum Hall of Fame, along with Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy and the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team.

Visser has been honored with the Compass Award for "changing the paradigm of her business" and was one of the 100 luminaries commemorating the 75th anniversary of the CBS Television Network in 2003. She was named "WISE Woman of the Year" in 2002 and voted the "Outstanding Women's Sportswriter in America" in 1983 and won the "Women's Sports Foundation Award for Journalism" in 1992. In 1999 she won the first AWSM Pioneer Award. Visser earned her bachelor's degree in English from Boston College and received an honorary doctorate of Journalism from her alma mater in May 2007.

Visser became the first woman sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch when she was honored in 2004 by the International Olympic Committee as a "pioneer and standard-bearer" and the first woman analyst in an NFL broadcast booth. She has been covering sports for 35 years, nearly half of them for CBS Sports. Visser worked her 30th Final Four last March of 2008, having worked the tournament for the Boston Globe, ESPN and CBS Sports. This past season marked her 34th year covering the NFL and for covering other sports. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre once said of Visser: "She doesn't demand respect, she commands it."

Early Life

Born on September 11, 1953, in Quincy, Massachusetts *[3], to a school teacher and engineer, Visser has been a sports fanatic for as long as she can remember: she was an avid box-score reader as a child and once dressed up as former Boston Celtics guard Sam Jones for Halloween. She had her heart set on being a sportswriter early, but, she said, there was one major problem: “The job didn’t exist”—not for women, anyway. Still, her family never discouraged her. “My parents didn’t say girls can’t do that, and my mother told me, ‘Sometimes you have to cross when it says “don’t walk.”’”

Her career at the Boston Globe

Visser was educated at Boston College, majoring in English. She received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater on May 21, 2007. But Visser remembers a time when credentials specifically barred women and children from press boxes, women's restrooms were nowhere to be found in the press area, and players and coaches were rude and threatening and refused to allow women reporters access to locker rooms. In January 1974, she won a prestigious Carnegie Foundation grant which entitled her to work as a sportswriter at the highly regarded Boston Globe. In her 14 years at the Globe, she covered College Basketball, the NBA, the MLB, Tennis, college football, and horse racing. In 1976, she was assigned to cover the New England Patriots, becoming the first ever female NFL beat writer. She was also assigned to cover the Boston Red Sox, and the Boston Celtics, becoming the first ever female MLB Beat Writer and NBA Beat Writer.

During her time at the Globe,"she wasn't at the dawn of women covering sports. But she made the breakfast." (13) She wasn't always welcomed in the locker room, but she stuck it out.

It wasn’t an easy time to be a female sportswriter. In addition to the absence of women’s restrooms in the press area and credentials specifically barring women and children from the press box, female sportswriters had to deal with rude, condescending athletes and coaches who threw food and jockstraps at them, yelled obscenities, or refused to talk to them at all, paraded around naked just to make them uncomfortable, and—in one infamous case involving baseball player Dave Kingman (but NOT involving Visser)—sent over a giftwrapped shoebox with a dead rat inside. Once, at a public seminar on women sportswriters, Visser had to defend herself for agreeing to interview Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves outside the clubhouse when he refused to talk to her inside.”My boss doesn’t want to hear why I didn’t talk to him,” Visser responded at a seminar in 1988. He wants a story by 6:30. But how many of you did I compromise by doing it out on the steps?”

One of the most traumatic moments in Visser’s career at the Globe occurred after the 1980 Cotton Bowl between Nebraska and Houston. Blocking Visser from entering the locker room, Houston coach Bill Yeoman declared, “I don’t give a damn about the equal rights amendment. She’s not coming into my locker room.” The exchange was captured by the media, and Visser felt humiliated. “I remember thinking earlier that afternoon it was a new decade, and that I was so excited to be doing this job,” she told Kevin Kaminski of Palm Beach Illustrated in 2005. “But after it happened, I went back into the stadium, walked to the top of the Cotton Bowl, and just sat there and cried.” (Years later, while covering NCAA basketball for television, Visser had a run-in with famously combustible Indiana coach Bobby Knight that ended much more happily. As she recalled in 2004 in the New York Times, Visser asked Bobby Knight how were you able to deaft Temple?, to which Knight replied, “We scored more points than they did that's something that you may have missed in the news media when the team when the buzzer blows-- “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” how did you how did you get the match up zone what did you tell your kids? Visser retorted, rolling her eyes, cracking Knight up.)

Despite the heartache, Visser has extremely fond memories of her years at the Globe, working alongside such legendary scribes as Bud Collins, Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan, and Will McDonough. “They were all so great to me,” she said. “I remember going with [Peter] Gammons to see Bonnie Raitt at a coffeehouse in Cambridge. Those were great times.” Gridiron guru McDonough became one of her greatest advocates. “He was a great mentor,” she shared. When she got the gig as the NFL, NBA, and MLB Beat writer she said, “This will work. She knows football, baseball and basketball. All you need to do is give her a chance.” And it was during her time at the Globe that she met and married sportscaster Dick Stockton. (The two met at—where else?—a sporting event, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. Stockton was part of NBC Sports’s broadcast team that night, while Visser was at the Globe.)

Begins television career at CBS Sports

In December 1983, she did a few features for CBS. Lesley said: "In television, usually it's, 'Let's hire somebody who knows television and we'll teach them sports.' But CBS said: 'Let's hire somebody who knows sports and teach them television.'" (14) But it took time. "I looked like I had rigor mortis. It's a learned skill." (15)

In January 1984, Visser joined CBS Sports part-time and going full-time in January 1987. In 1984, she became the first woman to cover the NBA Finals and the Final Four. Her assignments included the NBA on CBS inculding the NBA Finals (1984-1990), College Basketball on CBS inculding the Final Four (1984-1993), MLB on CBS inculding the World Series (1990-1993), college football, Tennis inculding the U.S. Open of Tennis (1984-1993) and the Olympics on CBS inculding the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville where Visser coined this phrase, "Hey Snooze you luge." In 1990 she became a regular on "The NFL Today." She said that contacts she had made over the years while covering the sport allowed her to get interviews that others might not have been able to get. "I had gained respect with 14 years covering pro football and 14 (years) at the Globe. I understood what a box-and-one and a two-three zone defense was. Knowledge is the key." (16)

In 1990, she also became the first woman to cover the World Series. In 1992, she became the first woman to handle the televised Super Bowl postgame presentation ceremonies and in 1989 she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, focusing on how sports would change in East Germany for CBS News.

ABC Sports and ESPN

After CBS lost television rights to NFL games. "When CBS lost the NFL [in 1993], we all had to leave." , Visser spent the next six years with ABC Sports and ESPN (1994-2000) and was a sideline reporter for "Monday Night Football," becoming the first woman assigned to the series in 1998 and the first woman ever to report from the sidelines during a Super Bowl when she covered Super Bowl XXIX in 1995. She also covered for ABC Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. While at ABC Sports, Visser served as a reporter for college football bowl games and NFL playoffs games. She also contributed to horse racing, "ABC's Wide World of Sports," Major League Baseball on ABC, including the 1995 World Series, figure skating, Special Olympics, skiing, the NFL Pro Bowl, and an ABC series "A Passion to Play." She co-hosted the network's coverage of the "Millennium Tournament of Roses Parade show." Visser covered College Basketball, figure skating, and horse racing *[4] for ESPN. Also for ESPN, she contributed to shows such as SportsCenter, NFL GameDay, and Monday Night Countdown*[5].

During the 1998 NFL season *[6] she was a sideline reporter for "Monday Night Football," making her the first woman to become a member of the Monday night football broadcast team. She feels she's earned it after covering the NFL for 24 years. "Credibility doesn't come from gender. It comes from the work you've done. ...

"When I started out in the '70s, people wrote to ask me why I was doing this. Now they write to ask me if I think the Dallas Cowboys are going to get to the playoffs." (18)

In June 2000, Visser's career suffered a highly publicized setback when she was famously bounced as the Monday Night Football sideline reporter for a less experienced, much younger woman and man. "It was staggering to me," Visser later recalled. However, she wound up returning to CBS Sports, philosophical as ever."You can have a short career if it's based on looks and youth," she said, "but legitimacy is what lasts." Which ABC replaced her with both Melissa Stark and Eric Dickerson. Visser sued Howard Katz who was the president of ABC Sports and Don Ohlmeyer who was the new Exectuive Producer for both MNF and ABC Sports for Age discrimination for $800,000.

Return to CBS Sports

On August 28, 2000, Visser returned to CBS on camera where she covered the 2000 U.S. Open of Tennis. That is where she continues to work today, as a contributor to the NFL on CBS/The NFL Today, College Basketball on CBS, horse racing and Tennis as well as for special projects for CBS Sports and CBS News. In 2004, Visser became the first woman sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch when she was honored in 2004 by the International Olympic Committee as a "pioneer and standard-bearer." Returning to her roots, Visser now is a sportswriter for CBSSports.com. Previously, she covered for CBS College Football, and Figure Skating. “The journey is always what has pleased me,” she says. “I’m honored to be called a pioneer, because I’m glad that women can find encouragement in my career.”

In 2006 Visser was honored by the American Women in Radio & Television with the Gracie Allen Award, which celebrates individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry. “This is such an honor,” said Visser. “Gracie Allen had humor, wit and energy, and made it all look easy. I am humbled by the American Women in Radio & Television for recognizing me with such a distinguished award.” Then, flashing her own humor and wit in a way that would have made Gracie Allen proud, Visser added: “I wasn’t at the dawn of women covering sports. But I made the breakfast.”

Being a woman in a male-dominated field, Visser has had to prove herself time and again,a challenge she has welcomed and met throughout the past thirty years. As Visser herself has said, "Credibility doesn't come from gender. It comes from the work you've done. "Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports and one of Visser's biggest fans, summed up her contributions this way: "Lesley Visser's career has broken many barriers and defined previously unimagined roles for women in professional sports and sports broadcasting."

During the 2001 NFL Season Visser became the became the first female color analyst *[7] on an NFL broadcast booth. She joined play-by-play announcer Howard David and analyst Boomer Esiason in the booth for Westwood One/CBS Radio. As the 3 of them worked the 2002 Super Bowl. She resigned from Westwood One after the 2002 Super Bowl to focus exclusively on CBS and HBO. She joined Westwood One in August 2001-February 2002.

Visser served as lead reporter for the Network's coverage of the NFL on CBS, teaming with CBS Sports' No. 1 announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for the 2004 NFL Season and the 2005 NFL Season replacing Bonnie Bernstein who took her spot on The NFL Today for 2 seasons. In 2006, she returned to the NFL Today as a Reporter.

Visser was a pre-game analyst for The Super Bowl Today, where she covered the Super Bowl XXXV in February 2001, Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004, and the Super Bowl XLI in February 2007 pre-game broadcasts. Visser was also a Sideline Reporter for the Super Bowl XLI besides pre-game analyst. Visser also contributes reports for CBS News and served as a reporter for HBO Sports' "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" for 10 years (1995-2005).

Visser was loaned to NBC Sports twice to cover the Olympics on NBC as covered the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when she served as the Equestrian Reporter. She also covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino as a Reporter for Short Track Speed Skating.

Visser/Coach Smith/Coach Gillespie Controversial interviews

In March 2004, during a college basketball game *[8] in Columbus, Ohio, 16th-seeded Florida A&M faced off against 1-seeded University of Kentucky, and nobody was giving them a chance. So it was surprising when A&M was within a few points within the Wildcats before halftime. As Visser interviewed Coach Tubby Smith which he used bad words towards Visser during halftime.

Lesley Visser: Coach Smith, nobody would have thought that Florida A&M would have stayed so close on the scoreboard at halftime. What are your thoughts?

UK coach Tubby Smith: Oh, the game. I don't know. I've spent most of the game trying to do that thing where you make a vagina out of your hands.

Visser: ...Well, surely you're impressed with their effort in the first half!

Smith: I can't remember, don't you have to have two people to do it with? Do you know how to do it? Can you help me?

Visser: Uh...uh, thank you, Coach.

Smith: ...bitch...

Visser then made her way to the A&M coach, Mike Gillespie as Gillespie was saying some negative quotes to Visser.

Visser: Coach Gillespie, are you surprised with your team's terrific effort so far this game?

Gillespie: waht?

Visser: COACH, ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH YOUR TEAM'S EFFORT?

Gillespie: yuo are pretty!

Visser: Uh...well, um, thank you! I was --

Gillespie: TOOT TOOOOOT!

Visser: And with that, I am officially becoming a lesbian. Back to you at the studio, Greg Gumbel.

Personal

Visser is married to sportscaster Dick Stockton, who calls games for both FOX and Turner Sports. They live in Boca Raton, Florida. Visser and Stockton met at the 1975 World Series, when Visser was covering for the Boston Globe and Stockton was a broadcaster for NBC. Dick says, "We're together maybe four days a week. Lesley says, That way we don't get tired of each other," she said. The couple wed on January 23, 1983.

In June 1993, Visser suffered a bizarre jogging accident in New York's Central Park in which she broke her hip and skidded face-first across the pavement.[1] She required reconstructive plastic surgery on her face and in 2006 she required an artificial hip replacement. She returned to CBS Sports in July 1993 to cover the 1993 Major League Baseball All-Star Game as a pre-game analyst instead of a field reporter due to the bizzare jogging accident as in her place came Jim Kaat.

In March 2008, Visser joined a local radio station in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to be part of their morning show a few days per week. She can be heard regularly on Fridays-Sundays on WFTL 640 Fox Sports (WMEN, Boca Raton) as part of "South Florida's First Team."

References

External links

Template:Major League Baseball on CBS