During ESPN's second Monday Night Football telecast, featuring the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers (still weird to write that), ESPN Deportes reporter Sergio Dipp was the sideline reporter. He had a somewhat rough go of it; he seemed incredibly nervous and sort of bounced around from thought to thought in a moment that failed to really bring any kind of valuable information to the viewing audience. Sound familiar?
Dipp, who usually reports on soccer, was mocked mercilessly on social media for his efforts but, really, how much worse was this performance than any other sideline report? Instead of "I spoke to [head coach x] before the game and he said his team just needs to execute," we got "just watching coach Vance Joseph, from here, watch him now on the screen, his diversity and his background is helping him tonight." I mean...whatever.
He was nervous and speaking his second language—Dipp is from Mexico—and so he struggled to clearly articulate his message, which was simply that he wanted to highlight two minorities, such as himself, on the anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11. In a video posted to his Twitter account after the game, Dipp said he wanted speak about head coaches Vance Joseph and Anthony Lynn to "show some respect, making my debut as a minority, on American national TV—the biggest stage out there. On the most heartfelt day in this great country made up by immigrants, and on some people's perspective, it all went wrong...All I wanted to do was to show some love to these two historical head coaches."
Now, my English turns into straight-up gibberish when I speak in front of even a group of three or four people I don't know—probably why I'm not a lawyer anymore—and I don't even speak a second language. That there was this huge outcry after a guy mangled some thoughts in front of a national NFL audience in his non-native language says less about him, to me, than it does the critics. For crying out loud, how long did we have to listen to Phil Simms babble on? Years. The former Giants quarterback was so bad that his replacement, Tony Romo, was hailed as a savant just for accurately calling some plays out before the snap. Which happens all the time!
Dipp, for his part, took it mostly in stride. He posted his explanation, which at times got emotional, but was also able to laugh at himself.
At least Dipp was interesting. It's more than you can say for most of the sideline reporting in sports.