One day, 10-year-old Lesley Visser announced to her mother that she wanted to become a sportswriter, a job that women did not fill at the time. Her wise mother did not discourage her. Instead, she said, “Sometimes you have to cross when it says ‘Don’t Walk.’” Lesley Visser has made a career of doing just that, crossing the gender barrier again and again. With no female role models in sports journalism, she set the standard for the women who followed her into the jobs once dominated by men; along the way, she has covered nearly every major sporting event and garnered prestigious awards to signify excellence in her field.
The Boston Globe hired Lesley Visser in 1974 as a Sportswriter after her graduation from Boston College. Two years later, when no other media outlet had a woman covering a National Football League team, editors at The Globe made her their New England Patriots beat writer, even though most NFL credentials then stated this: “No Women or Children in the Press Box.” Ms. Visser worked at The Globe for a dozen years, covering a variety of top events, including the Super Bowl, the World Series, Wimbledon, the Olympics, college football, and both college and pro basketball championships.
After working part-time for CBS Sports, Lesley Visser joined the network full-time in 1987, regularly appearing on The NFL Today and working the sidelines at a variety of professional and college sporting events. She reported from the 1992 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, and after the game, she became the first, and still the only, woman to award the Lombardi Trophy to the winning team.
Lesley Visser moved on to ABC Sports in 1993, and she later joined the team at its sister network, ESPN. At the tandem of networks, she served as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football and for the Super Bowl, both firsts for a woman. Additional assignments took her to Triple Crown horse races, figure skating championships, the 1995 World Series, and other events aired on ABC Wide World of Sports. Seven years later, she returned to CBS, where she again contributes to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament coverage and The NFL Today. Lesley Visser is in her 37th year of reporting on professional football.