Lisa Guerrero had heard the phrase time and time again: “You’re the luckiest woman in sports.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth for the former “Monday Night Football” reporter.
In a new excerpt from her memoir, “Warrior: My Path to Being Brave,” Guerrero — who has been candid about the suicidal thoughts she endured after her trying season on the show — described the lead-up to her 2003 debut. the rails in the wake of a photo shoot.
“I had done a photo shoot for ‘FHM,’ a men’s lifestyle magazine, which was scheduled to run at the beginning of the football season,” Guerrero, 58, shared in an excerpt published Wednesday by Sports Illustrated. “This had been a strategic decision to promote my brand and raise my profile while I was at ‘The Best Damn Sports Show Period’. But when the media caught wind of the pictures of me dressed in black and white lingerie, it reinforced their perception that I had been hired on ‘Monday Night Football’ for all the wrong reasons.”
Guerrero claimed that when Disney executives found out about the footage, “they were furious,” claiming that she was “not the image they wanted for their family-friendly broadcast.” Guerrero also felt that the “Monday Night Football” executives “really didn’t know what they wanted (her) to be.”
“They feigned shock at the photo shoot … but after hearing about it, the publicity department tried to negotiate me to be on the ‘FHM’ cover,” she wrote.
Furthermore, Guerrero claimed that promotional photos for “Monday Night Football” had been altered to show a look from her past.
“I posed in a powder blue blazer next to Al (Michaels) and John (Madden). Yet the images that made the cut, including on a Times Square billboard, were not from the official ABC photo shoot. Instead, without my permission, they superimposed a photo — of me wearing a gold-plated tube top and a come-hither look — taken from a modeling gig I’d done years earlier,” she said.
Guerrero spent one season on the “Monday Night Football” team before being let go. During that season, in which she was subjected to an onslaught of media scorn, Guerrero suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage.
“People who knew what was going on with (my boss) Freddie (Gaudelli) and who read how I was treated in the media were already looking at me with such pity,” Guerrero said in an excerpt published by People last week .
“I was a shell of myself. And I felt such shame and embarrassment that the last thing I wanted to say is, ‘Oh, and by the way, I just had a miscarriage.’ Most of my best friends will learn about it by reading the book,” she continued, adding that the harrowing ordeal “was a culmination of a whole season of negativity and cruelty.”
In a statement to The Post, Gaudelli responded to the alleged assessment of how he treated Guerrero.
“I’ve always tried to be Lisa’s biggest advocate, from the moment I hired her,” Gaudelli said. “Her memory from that season and mine are completely different. This is the first time I’m hearing about her pregnancy and I’m sorry she struggled through that difficult time without the full support of the team around her.
“I unequivocally disagree with Lisa’s account of the nature of my interactions with her. This is not how I remember our time together during her tenure at MNF, and it makes me very sad.”
In the years since her “Monday Night Football” experience, Guerrero’s star has continued to rise. Now on “Inside Edition,” Guerrero told The Post in 2021 how much her current role means to her.
“I wake up and pinch myself every day,” she said at the time. “I can’t believe I get to hunt down bad guys every day for a living. I get to make a difference in people’s lives and I get to make change happen. I get to be a victim’s advocate .”
“Warrior” was released Tuesday.