What Not To Say To An Athlete

If you’re working in the sports media field, it’s possible that you will end up having to conduct a interview with a famous athlete at some point in your career. This could be very exciting for your show or career, but you can’t let that distract you. You have to know the things you can and can’t say during the interview.

The biggest obstacle that could hurt anyone when they get to do this is the excitement. They could end up offending the athlete. If you offend the athlete, it could hurt your chance to get other interviews.

I had the privilege to interview Lou Tepper. He was the football coach at IUP.  He is best known as a head coach for LSU back in the 90’s. I had to come up with my own questions. I had a theme I based the questions on. This is a great thing to have. It helps make sure you don’t get off track and end up asking a question that could be off limits. Sometimes the athlete will have certain questions he wants to answer. Other times they could say that you could ask anything. It all depends on the athlete and the reason for the interview.

Never bring up their personal life (wife, kids, family) unless they did themselves. Try to keep the family out of the questions unless the athlete has said it’s ok. Many athletes want their personal life to stay private.

If it’s your first time giving an interview, don’t be afraid to ask them what is off limits.  Don’t forget you’re a journalist, but also know what you can and can’t ask.

Question Time! What is one athlete you want to interview? It could be past or present. Please comment your answer below!

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