Britt McHenry will be back on camera this weekend but far away from the last one on which she starred.
McHenry, a Washington, D.C.-based bureau reporter for ESPN, was suspended one week by the network last Thursday following the release of an edited video tape in which she was seen berating a suburban Washington, D.C., towing company worker. That suspension officially ended today, and based on conversations with ESPN executives, McHenry will have a full set of assignments heading forward, starting with a still-to-be determined sporting event this weekend for SportsCenter.
ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, who oversees ESPN's NFL studio shows and the NFL draft, told SI.com that McHenry will also have the same role for the upcoming NFL season that she had last year. That means McHenry will be at NFL games on most weekends, working as a reporter on behalf of the network. For ESPN’s coverage of the opening round of next Thursday’s NFL draft, McHenry will be in St. Louis to report on the Rams.
“She’s had the draft assignment for a while and nothing’s changed,” Markman said.
McHenry's words hit a nerve both domestically and internationally with the public. How concerned is Markman about a negative public reaction to McHenry appearing on ESPN’s draft coverage, which last year drew 9.9 million viewers on Day 1?
“Listen, it wouldn’t shock me if some people react negatively,” Markman said. “My head hasn’t been buried in the sand. I’ve read a lot on this, and more than anything, she knows she made a mistake. She’s owned up to it. I think she is just really anxious to get back to work.
“We had a conversation where we both talked about that it would take time and it will be hard. She knows that, and especially at the beginning. She realizes she will have to do her job really well and hopefully win back some of the trust of our viewers. We expect that from her, and I expect that from her. She did a great job for us on the NFL last year in some difficult situations and I have seen nothing that doesn’t make me think she will rebound from this. But she knows the first couple of assignments out of the box will not be easy.”
There is no guarantee McHenry will be on the air during the draft coverage—it depends on how newsworthy the Rams are on Day 1. But she will appear on SportsCenter and some NFL-related programs in the immediate days prior to the draft. Last year McHenry was assigned to cover Jacksonville for the NFL draft and interviewed quarterback Blake Bortles after he went No. 3 overall.
“I think she has a lot of potential as a reporter,” Markman said. “She is young, she’s learning some things, but I really do believe in her.”