Reports About Reporter Quitting Over Having to Fly Coach Questioned

(Feb. 24, 2009) BRISTOL,CONN.: ESPN sideline reporter Stacey Dales hasn’t confirmed she quit the network over after getting stuck in coach while her colleagues were in first class, though reports persist that she did. Dales, a former WNBA player, told The Oklahoman her decision was “a matter of principle.” Dales exited in December after six years working for the sports network over an impasse in her contract conditions.

Dales worked with a three men, whom WAGA-TV in Atlanta noted, “It’s not known whether they are being forced to fly coach.”

The story got around as far as The Economist, which picked up a sports column slamming Dales as a “diva.”

“That’s a pretty harsh judgment of something Ms. Dales has not, as of yet, confirmed,” the Economist said. “Obviously, contract negotiations are always complicated and what seems like a minor issue at first can become a major sticking point. It’s quite possible, indeed likely, that this situation is more complicated than early reports have suggested. But until Ms Dales is willing to explicitly confirm or deny what TheOklahoman’s ESPN source is saying, this story is going to be floating around. If she wants to avoid becoming famous as ‘the woman who quit instead of flying coach,’ Ms. Dales should call up… her media outlet of choice and give them her side of the story.”