ESPN Freelancer Fired After Questioning Employer

Thursday, January 22, 2009

With all of the Ombudsman hiring talk that's been going on, this story comes as a bit of a shock. ESPN.com writer, Kyle Whelliston, decided to write about the fact that ESPN had decided to cut their College Sports writing in half, and because of that, "he has been relieved of his duties" with the "Leader". Here is the original post, and the subsequent "firing" update, from Whelliston over at The Mid-Majority....

No part of the Sports Bubble, not even the attached layer of media soap-scum, is immune to structural weakness. Just under a month ago, while staying in this very city, I was given advance warning that ESPN.com is planning 50 percent cuts to its college sports coverage, and I was put on notice that my contributions would likely be halved in the new year. Earlier today, I was notified that beginning in February, I will indeed be cut in half -- writing and chatting every other week instead of weekly.

Now, if I know my audience the way I think I do, I know what you're thinking. ESPN is not "screwing mid-majors." These were cuts ordered by faraway men in suits who have bottom lines and share prices to protect, and this situation is not unlike the ongoing bloodbath at Sports Illustrated. I'm not the only one affected, and I'm fortunate enough not to be cut completely -- a fate that will befall others.

Update: I have just received word, within the hour, that I have been immediately relieved of my duties with ESPN.com (all of them, not just half). I have truly enjoyed a period of almost four years working with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. I thank the staff for taking a chance on a blogger back in 2005. I also appreciate their (unknowing) subsidy of this website and its experiments, during what turned out to be a prolonged and protracted timeframe. ESPN and I worked together to create a new, unique type of college basketball journalism that served a traditionally underserved niche.
Seems like a drastic move to just drop someone for calmly commenting on the move, but if it was an internal edict, I can sort of understand the move. It's a shame during these economic times that ESPN has to decide what to cover, but that's not really any different than in times when the economy is thriving.

Good luck, Kyle. In all honesty, you're probably better off because of this.

The Sports Bubble (Mid-Majority)
Ex-SPN (Mid-Majority)

4 Comments:

That Mt. Rushmore budget doesn't pay itself, you know.

Bigface said...
Jan 22, 2009, 2:05:00 PM  

AA, I'm a big Whelliston fan, but I don't make the connection that he was fired for speaking out.

GMoney said...
Jan 22, 2009, 4:19:00 PM  

Truly gutted. The Sports Bubble post seemed like a very tactful and complimentary way to comment on one's own employment situation. A lesser man would take back everything nice they ever said about the suits that handed down the decision in the first place. Good luck, Kyle.

Austin said...
Jan 22, 2009, 4:33:00 PM  

He's trying to be transparent about what's happening without bitching about it ... and he gets fired? WTF?

Jan 23, 2009, 4:45:00 AM  

Post a Comment