(above : not a photograph of Erin Andrews)

In the wake of Fox’s recent hiring of Erin Andrews after an 8-year tenure at ESPN, InsideSoCal.com’s Tom Hoffarth bemoans what he calls, “The Erin Andrews Effect” (“more female communications majors are taking as many shortcuts as possible to grab a coveted sideline reporting job or studio host instead of risking the time and challenge necessary to try play-by-play, game analyst, or even what’s still referred to as journalism”).  I don’t disgree with much of Hoffarth’s general point, but where was he a couple of years ago when someone needed to take a stand against The Tony Siragusa Effect?

No matter how much you’d think she was adding to a college football broadcast – and ESPN has been top-notch in that department for years — it’ll be the shots of her on the ESPY’s red-carpet, a ethically-challenged decision to promote a sports shoe without her company’s approval, or another photo spread in GQ or Vanity Fair that’s seared into our minds, which somewhat explain the interviews she’s done over the years with wide-eyed, adrenalin-challenged 12-year-olds at the Little League World Series.

“I . . . uh . . . here’s the thing with me – I very much feel that I’m a massive dork,” she tried to sound self depricating when making an appearance earlier this week on the Dan Patrick syndicated radio show, a place where former ESPN employees now go for their exit interviews and debriefing by the former famous “SportsCenter” anchor.

“I just kind of laugh at all of it. There are times when you wake up in the morning and your friends are texting you that your pictures are on TMZ or you’re walking through the airport and, you’re like, ‘Why? I don’t get it.’

That seems to get to the core of the issue.

It’s one thing to have a healthy naivety. But no one at IMG, which represents her and is supposed to be watching out for her best interests, could explain how the unreal media world of today works? At some point, it’s not all that cute any more to play dumb.