"Try To Cancel Me": NBC Sports Broadcasting Legend Quits Job To Speak Truth To Power On Podcast

 Authored by Michael Wing via The Epoch Times,

She was the crown jewel of NBC Sports television. A winner of Emmys and trailblazer for women in broadcasting, Michele Tafoya reached millions of viewers in living rooms across America—all from the sidelines on “Monday Night Football.”

After nearly 30 years on the air, Tafoya left it all to start podcasting on Salem and speaking her mind. She saw her country being torn apart from within and felt compelled to save it. 

"Try To Cancel Me": NBC Sports Broadcasting Legend Quits Job To Speak Truth To Power On Podcast

One year into her social media foray, Tafoya has exactly zero regrets.

“I wanted to respond to some people who were saying things that I thought were divisive,” Tafoya told The Epoch Times.

“I wanted to say, ‘Wait a minute now, you’re saying the American dream is gone? I’m living proof that it’s here.’”

From around 2017 she heard the sound of America’s social fabric tearing at the seams. She saw her friends becoming ever more fearful of speaking their minds on social media, and found it “insane” how speech had been chilled for fear of being canceled.

NBC “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speaks during a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on November 14, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Tafoya’s podcast would champion free speech and demonstrate to all “how to not be afraid of these forces who want to shut you up.” While many trembled to breathe the word “vaccine” during COVID, she remained stoic. “Come on,” she said. “Try to cancel me. I don’t care!”

Her bosses at NBC told her, “We understand, we would like to ask you to wait,” as she proposed her off-hours podcast. Her being a star among the network’s top properties airing controversial views, all knew, would draw undesired heat. She appreciated that. “There were contracts, Super Bowls to consider; there were Olympic Games to consider,” she said. To their credit, management never said “no.” She would wait.

Timing was everything.

Submitting her resignation in 2018, Tafoya would see her podcast launch following her emotional last Super Bowl in Los Angeles in February 2022. She would do the rounds on FOX, The View, her former network NBC, and other stations, relating her dramatic, freedom-bound exodus.

Sure, quitting would entail a huge pay cut while her audience would shrink to a mere fraction of what it once was. Yet she was certain the impact of her unfettered voice would offset that.

NBC “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter Michele Tafoya reporting from the sidelines during her tenure with NBC Sports.
NBC “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter Michele Tafoya reporting from the sidelines during her tenure with NBC Sports. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Think about it, what I said on Monday Night Football was, ‘I talked to the coach and he said so-and-so has a sprained ankle; they’re going to rest him on the side-lines,’” she said. “It was a reporter’s job—I do the job that was asked of me. Now I’m doing the job I’m asking of myself, and that is to express the things I want to express.”

If she changed one mind, she said, it would be worth it.

Making a Podcast Splash for Free Speech

Sidelined no longer, Tafoya would now have her say while introducing her listeners to those whom “they might not otherwise hear from.”

Who might those be? Everyone from Dr. Robert McCullough, speaking facts about COVID jabs, to ex-Border Patrol Chief Chris Clem, decrying America’s southern border crisis response—of which Tafoya has much to say, her father himself being a Hispanic immigrant.

“There should be rules and process at the border,” she told the newspaper. “A great deal of my family came across the southern border, and they came across legally.”

Her podcast “Sideline Sanity”—set to rebrand as the “Michele Tafoya Podcast” in May—drew media and alternative media voices into the conversation, voices such as Fox News’s Kennedy, Dave Rubin, and Larry Elder.

She has tackled issues such as both Critical Race Theory and gender ideology being taught to young kids in schools, as well as transgenderism entering Tafoya’s home turf: sports. “I believe that biological males should not compete against biological females in college, and Olympic sports, and anywhere else for that matter,” she said.

Michele Tafoya. (Courtesy of Michele Tafoya)
Michele Tafoya. (Courtesy of Michele Tafoya)

She would hold China’s genocidal CCP despots to account for harming not just their own people but Americans also through their unrestricted warfare.

“China also very much influences our social media diet,” she said.

“I think they know that the best way to ruin this country is from within, and I think, to some degree, they’ve been successful at that and I want to see that stop.”

Airing her views on her platform, she fully expected cancel culture to start hurling insults her way—and hurl it did.

Over the past year, she has been labelled a “racist and a bigot” for criticizing CRT, “homophobic” for her views on transgenderism, and “xenophobic” for her views on illegal immigration, yet Tafoya remained stoic. The half-Latina has sufficient street credit to level the playing field.

Her immigrant parents worked their tails off, she said. Enduring the Great Depression, they scrimped and saved to ensure the kids all got college educations. “[My parents] believed in the American Dream, and they instilled that in me and all four of us,” she said.

Not playing into the trap of fighting fire with fire, thus derailing discussion—exactly what the trolls want—she invites them to debate on her podcast.

“That’s their game. All they do when you try to debate is call you names and try to shout you down. And that’s it,” she said.

“I’ll let you guess how many people have accepted.”

Yep, nada.

Regrets?

Tafoya has no regrets departing her glitzy post from the sidelines on NBC Sports. All the pieces were in place—including a purpose. “It was just way more meaningful to me to be able to be part of this conversation in this place that I love,” she said. “I would love to help just play a small part in helping to save it.”

From day one, her family has supported her starting “Sideline Sanity.” Her husband, Mark, converted her home office into a studio. Her mom, who inspired Tafoya’s work ethic as a child when she found her first job at age 10, expressed pride that she is now upholding those values.

Likewise as a mother of two teenagers—17-year-old Tyler and Olivia, 14—Tafoya guides by example. “I want my son and my daughter to see me follow through with my convictions,” she said.

Tafoya, her husband, Mark, and two kids, Tyler and Olivia, attending the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
Tafoya, her husband, Mark, and two kids, Tyler and Olivia, attending the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. (Courtesy of Michele Tafoya)

One year on, does the former crown jewel of NBC Sports miss it? At all?

“I miss my friends,” she said. “But they have all been incredibly supportive. And they know me well enough to know that I wanted to do this.

“Do I miss covering it? I don’t. I got my fill.

“I loved every minute of it. That’s what’s important to reiterate.

Almost every minute of it. I didn’t love being away from my babies when they were small.”

Sports aren’t out of the picture entirely, she added:

“It’s nice to be able to travel with my daughter to her soccer games and attend every baseball game that my son plays in.”

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