Inside Edition journalist Lisa Guerrero is opening up about some of her darkest days while being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football in the early 2000s.
In her new memoir, Warrior: My Path to Being Brave, out Jan. 24, Guerrero, 58, gets candid about the sexism and mistreatment she endured as a female reporter in sports. She also writes about suffering a miscarriage on live TV while reporting during a game.
Guerrero, who was let go from Monday Night Football after the 2003 season, explained to People that the miscarriage was the culmination of incessant bullying at the hands of her boss, executive producer Freddie Gaudelli, and others, who routinely criticized her clothes, posture and script-writing.
"People who knew what was going on with [my boss] Freddie and who read how I was being treated in the media already looked at me with such pity," Guerrero, who kept the secret for 20 years, recalled. "I was a shell of myself. And I felt such shame and embarrassment that the last thing I was going to say is, 'Oh, and by the way, I just had a miscarriage.'"
In the book, Guerrero writes that despite Monday Night Football's spike in ratings with her on the sidelines — and an invitation from President George W. Bush to host a White House reception for Hispanic Heritage Month — she was still isolated from her peers.
"Freddie's criticisms obliterated all other [facets] of my life — a great job, lots of money, and a gorgeous fiancé [MLB pitcher Scott Erickson]," she writes in the book, per People. "But I was thinking, Who decides to get married when they're also considering killing themselves? That was how bad I felt."
Guerrero explains that she hadn't had a period since starting the job, chalking it up to stress. That is, until a home pregnancy test proved otherwise.
Guerrero's fantasies of starting a family came to a standstill during a live segment, when she says she felt an "intensifying pain" in her abdomen.
"I pushed through and did my reports. When I felt a dampness between my legs, I thought, 'Oh, I got my period.' And then I remembered I was pregnant. I was having a miscarriage!" she writes. "I could feel blood leaking. The officials' bathroom was in the tunnel behind me. 'I'm going to the bathroom,' I told my assistant, whose job was to race around the field with me. He looked at me as if I were insane. 'They're about to throw to you.'"
Guerrero ended up giving her live report, though she felt "dizzy" and "nauseated" the entire time.
"The pain was excruciating," she writes. "I heard myself mispronounce a player's name and knew I'd hear about it later [from Gaudelli]. As soon as I finished, I raced off to interview a coach. Then I headed to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I couldn't believe the blood pouring out of me. It had soaked through my pants. I shoved a bunch of paper towels in my underwear."
"It never occurred to me to tell anyone," she continues. "It never occurred to me that maybe I should have gone to a hospital or, at the very least, sat out the rest of the game. The only thought that crossed my mind was that I could get through the rest of the game as long as I buttoned up my long winter coat. That way, no one would see the blood. It was as if I were on autopilot. Get back on the sideline. Interview the coach. Listen to Freddie's directions."
When the game ended, Guerrero writes that she was supposed to speak with Gaudelli. Instead, she headed straight to a plane, where she "changed clothes, and dumped my underwear and pants in the garbage can."
In hindsight, Guerrero tells People, she doesn't "blame one person for this."
"The miscarriage wasn't because of Freddie, and it wasn't because of one radio talk show host or one bad column," she said. "It was a culmination of the entire season of negativity and cruelty. It was really cruel."
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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