Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Reflecting on ESPN’s dark day as someone who used to dream of working there

It’s been a dark, dark day for ESPN, with approximately 100 employees getting laid off, from reporters to on-air personalities to everything in between. Some big names have gotten the axe, including Dana O’Neil, Eamonn Brennan, C.L. Brown, Brett McMurphy, Ed Werder, and Len Elmore. Watching the news and the reaction to it on Twitter has been like watching the Worldwide Leader in Sports slowly crumble to the ground; a proud giant now forced to cut away some of its limbs in order to stay relevant. Even though you could see it coming for months, it’s just sad.

As someone who used to watch ESPN religiously in high school and college, I confess that I very rarely have it on these days, even though I am a sportswriter. In fact, the only time I do watch ESPN is during a game, “College GameDay,” or “SportsCenter” if John Calipari’s going to be on. That’s mostly because all of the content is online now, and much easier to access via social media. Why waste (more) time watching TV when I can just go on Twitter and get the news?

Sportswriters everywhere are lamenting this as a sad day for the profession, and it is, but more than anything, it reminds me how lucky I’ve been with my own career. Before I started my long journey with KSR, I actually applied for a job at ESPNW, the site’s women’s portal, but was turned down for lack of experience, which totally made sense because I have an English degree, not a journalism degree. I can’t tell you how often I perused the “Jobs at ESPN” page in the years after college. Same goes for The Tennessean, the local newspaper here in Nashville. Now, both entities have been hammered by major layoffs. When most people hear what I do now, they ask if I want to work for ESPN one day. Once, that answer was “absolutely.” Now, I’m just grateful to be where I am, writing about what I love for a living.

It’s sad to see such talented reporters lose their jobs in lieu of the increasingly popular “hot take” jockeys (Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, etc.), but in today’s changing landscape, I think it serves as a reminder that you don’t need a journalism degree to make it in this industry. You need really good writing skills, a level head, a tireless work ethic, and the humility to work for free to get your foot in the door. Also, a few great people to take a chance on you along the way.

So, really, today has just reminded me to say thanks.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

52 Comments for Reflecting on ESPN’s dark day as someone who used to dream of working there

  1. Realme
    4:33 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    You’re the best Tyler. KSR wouldn’t be the same without you.

  2. rickwhitetx
    4:34 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Let go of the sports folks and keep the opinions. Figures.

    • syrin23
      12:57 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah, exactly. They let go all the guys who actually stuck to sports and were knowledgeable, and kept the liberal opinionated d’bags. They’ll be filing for Chapter 11 within the year.

  3. secrick
    4:58 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Who doesn’t watch TV? Just not ESPN. People lose jobs every day and go find another. It’s tuff but it’s called LIFE.

  4. DelrayCat
    4:59 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    The same thing is happening with news. The serious unbiased reporters are being pushed out for the opinion-oriented partisans. Conflict and shock value sell more than truth.

  5. garypatterson7o
    5:00 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Hate to say it but you and Matt are completely wrong on this one. This network leans soo far left it’s making Bernie Sander blush. I

    Top 5 reasons ESPN is failing:

    1. Politics
    2. Pushing Social Justice Issues
    3. Overpaying for tv rights
    4. Catering to the minority instead of the majority. Many larger companies are guilty of this now adays. They see 100 SJW’s complaining on twitter and assume that those people are their fan base. In reality those people act offended at the drop of a hat.
    5. Caitlyn Jenner and Colin Kaepernick

    AND THEY STILL AREN’T LISTENING! They would rather pander to a minority than listen to the real paying viewers.

    I didn’t cut the cord because of the $7 monthly fee…I cut the cord because they refuse to make positive changes since their last lay off.

    • Luether
      5:24 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      These comments are applicable to what’s happening to pretty much the whole “Lame-stream / drive-by media” outlets…

    • cmgormanjr1
      5:38 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Stephan A won’t make it another year either. All his yelling at opposing views is obnoxious and tired. ESPN used to be a great sports media outlook. I rarely watch their broadcasts anymore due to the extreme political agenda.

    • garypatterson7o
      5:57 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Agree cmgorman…it’s brutal

    • the ghost of Bill Hicks
      5:57 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      You’re missing the larger issue…..they’ve gone downhill because Disney bought them. If you think ESPN just decided to change their ways on a whim, thing again…look to the cause. Don’t discount cord cutting either. Look up the amount of customers Dish, Direct TV and others have lost in the past 2 years. All networks are feeling the pinch.

    • garypatterson7o
      6:36 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      I’m a Disney Shareholder, can’t wait until they release ESPN back into the wild. They’ve been an anchor around the neck of Disney the last few years.

    • garypatterson7o
      6:41 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      I wouldn’t say I’m “missing” anything…I’m fairly competent on the subject. BUT you make a very strong point, ESPN took a significant left turn when they were bought by Disney.

    • binarysolo
      8:17 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      You’re totally right about overpaying for tv rights but that’s the only thing you’re right about on your list. Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem might have ruffled your feathers but it had absolutely no effect on 100 ESPN employees losing their jobs today.

    • garypatterson7o
      10:11 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      @Binarysolo Sure sure keep ignoring the obvious reasons, that’s exaclty how Trump got elected. I guess Kaepernick ruffeled many peoples feather since no team will touch the guy in fear of the reaction of blue collar fans in the host towns. That and the mocking the franchise would take on social media, but nah nah you keep struttin’ around Mr. Peacock tough guy.

    • binarysolo
      10:52 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      @garypatterson7o Wrong.

    • Basteballer
      12:30 pm April 27, 2017 Permalink

      Funny stuff!

  6. MikesWay
    5:01 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Used to watch SporsCenter pretty often as well. Now it has turned into more of a talk show format. What happened to just showing sports clips?

  7. I believe there is a combination of things going on here. It’s not just cord cutting, it’s not just the left wing politics (and yes, I do believe politics is a factor)

    One thing that some are forgetting is the HUGE salaries that some of the bigger names are making. Doesn’t Fowler make like $35 million a year? Also, when Reese Davis got the Gameday gig, he got a huge bump in salary. There’s nothing wrong with that if you can make it (I’m absolutely a free market guy). However, when subscribers are down (WAY down apparently), something’s got to give, and although some highly priced/visible talent has been let go, it seems it’s much more the Werders, CL Browns, etc. that are being shown the door.

  8. Angelo
    5:11 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Tyler don’t stop working on that Nashville brothel horror novel! You are a creative writer. You could have a bunch of murdering zombie prostitutes come back to life and stab guys like Drew and Matt–right at climax!!

  9. Rod Crandler
    5:13 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    ESPN has not adapted to their audiences shift to on-line content. Anything worth reading on their website requires a subscription. Not going to happen for most people.

    People are not going to sit through 20 minutes of something they are not interested in to listen to 2 minutes of something they might be interested in anymore. Sorry ESPN, change or get left behind.

    • I agree. I believe that is a factor also when you have sites like KSR that are team specific and free, and then you throw in all the SB Nations and Bleacher Reports with their free team specific sites, there you go.

    • KTR2786
      6:13 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Exactly, this has some parallels to what is happening to mainstream news. Now they are purging these news sources through corporate sponsors and censorship because they are losing control of the narrative. It’s embarrassing to have garbage sites break news before billion dollar sites. ESPN was feeling the strain too and started to license and restrict everything. I love the internet.

  10. KTR2786
    5:55 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    They delve too far into the stories outside of sports and seemed to cater to the social justice crybullies too much. I found it hard to take them serious. Plus, just as the mainstream news media has been feeling the push, this is a result of and will help access to smaller, independent sources of news which should drive improvement for the overall product for us, the consumers.

  11. Rick_S
    6:01 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Len Elmore, glad he’s gone..Big Cat hater

  12. catsarerunnin
    6:16 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Sportscenter used to be “must see TV” for me. It was a thing of beauty. Nothing but scores and highlights. But somehow they even screwed that up.

  13. Lori M
    6:25 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Nothing to do with politics and ratings. The ESPN package is the most expensive on satellite or cable. With so many people cutting the chord their revenue has plummeted. They lost 1.7 million subscribers in the last fiscal year alone. Paying billions to televise games is no longer a profitable business model. Days of 20 college games a weekend will soon be over.

    • Dusten
      6:37 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Go shumwur eltz which ur fancy numbers n long words. Its the libtards, that what runt ESPN. Taint nuthin eltz tut. MAGA

    • catsarerunnin
      6:51 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Yer sho fire rite. I jus ain’t tryin to speakify it’s beter dan dat..

    • garypatterson7o
      7:01 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      They claim SC6 is “a successful show”. However the ratings are terrible and all across message boards online people are trashing it, because, frankly it’s awful. Yet both liberal, black hosts sill have a job.

    • binarysolo
      8:29 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      @garypatterson7o Hate to burst your bubble but the ratings for SC6 is actually pretty good:

      It’s the 2nd highest rated SportsCenter on the network. This is fact.

      Whatever message boards you frequent, however, I can’t speak on those. I’m sorry that liberal-leaning African Americans with jobs are such a threat to you.

      Enjoy your evening.

    • garypatterson7o
      9:54 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Those are from February and that site is a joke. Ratings have tumbled since.

    • garypatterson7o
      10:07 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink (which is where AA gets it’s numbers) no longer has access to ESPN ratings as of 4/25 because his source was cut off. ESPN doesnt want the numbers becoming public.

    • binarysolo
      10:53 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      @garypatterson7o February? Can you read? It says Apr. 10-14. Consider getting your eyes checked, unless your insurance got cut off. Then, again, I’m sorry.

    • syrin23
      1:01 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

      It has EVERYTHING to do with politics. Every article you read about this topic is LOADED with comments from people TELLING YOU they stopped watching for politics. Then you look at what happened to Target, Kelloggs, Starbucks, the NFL, and all these other leftist America hating entities whose bottom lines have dropped through the floor after very publicly going hard left. Wake up.

  14. chris43
    6:31 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    ESPN used to be a daily must watch especially sports center. But now it’s mostly filled with garbage shows. How in the hell do they keep Stephen A. Smith? I won’t even go into that one. I watch games on the channel and the occasionally 30 for 30. The majority of the rest is pure garbage.

  15. blackmilk23
    7:24 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    It’s not about politics. It’s about cord cutting.

    You think they fired the entire Hockey crew and half of Baseball tonight because they were “Too pc”? The fact of the matter is they made cuts where the ratings said they should. Rather you hate SC6 or not it’s ratings are not bad. ( On the flipside people don’t watch Hockey.

    If the shows with people “yelling and pushing politics” were the problem that would have been where the layoffs were. Those people y’all hate, Stephen A, Jamele, Boomani, and Beedle are all still there…because their segments do well relative to the others.

    Other cable companies are suffering too. ESPN just has the most expensive content. They pay the NBA 2.6 billion every year for TV rights. Combine that with other sports TV rights, rising athlete salaries and people cutting cable you got yourself a bubble.

    You may not like PC Culture on ESPN but it is objectively not the reason Cable companies lost subscribers. You really think people are calling Comcast and saying “Cancel my cable packgage I can’t stand Jamele Hill!”

    It doesn’t work like that. Now I know people believe what they want to. But I work in sports media and people who are actually looking for an objective non partisan answer that’s it.

    ESPN will continue to lose until they figure out how to embrace streaming. They SHOULD make a deal with netflix.

    • JusSayin
      7:31 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Yea if it’s true that conservatives have been not watching ESPN because of PC… then that probably explains why only the people they hate are left.

      But the TV contracts are out of control. NFL and College football contracts are coming up in 3 years too.

    • garypatterson7o
      7:44 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      You’re exactly why Trump is president. Thanks bro

    • JusSayin
      8:00 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Considering that I voted for him I take that as a compliment.

      But was that seriously your rebuttal? You sound like a liberal now.

    • garypatterson7o
      8:08 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      That was directed at blackmilk. Got any more witty quips?

    • blackmilk23
      8:18 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      I didn’t vote for him but I hardly consider myself liberal. I just know how media finance works and I’ve seen the numbers.

      People are getting rid of cable. I don’t doubt a lot of people are annoyed with the talking heads as I am. But cable cutting is by far the largest reason for every cable networks decline.

      Show me the direct correlation between a specific PC segment and ratings for that segment and I’ll agree. So far the entire argument is “I don’t like this so that must be why they are struggling.”

      Well I don’t like how MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore. But TRL was killing them in the ratings and teen mom was a ratings boom.

    • syrin23
      1:04 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

      People TELL YOU in the comment threads they stopped watching because they went liberal. Did Target’s stock drop 30% losing $15 BILLION because of “cord cutting”? What about Kelloggs, the NFL, Starbucks? All cord cutter victims too? How about Hollywood movies featuring liberal stars who very publicly trashed the deplorables like Scarho Johansssen? WAke the f’up dude. They are TELLING you why and you still live in denial.

    • blackmilk23
      9:10 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

      ESPN is still the 3rd most watched cable network behind Fox News and Univision. ESPN is the MOST watched in prime time.

      Univision lost 24% of it’s viewers in 2016
      Fox News lost 36% of it’s viewers in 2016 (Are they losing subscribers because they are two liberal too?)

      ESPN lost around 9%

      Even-though people are cutting cable, ESPN is losing viewers at a LOWER rate. It is therefore reasonable to assume that ESPN’s lost in viewers is by in large due mostly to cord cutting.

      Netflix is OBSCENELY liberal. With shows like Dear White People, and Orange is the new black. Why are they gaining subscribers? If your theory holds true they should be hemorrhaging viewers.

  16. BoogieDMC
    7:48 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Like it or not, I think they have turned their back on their biggest viewer base. Still not sure men want to have women deliver their sports news and ESPN has done a (good?) job of hiring females. Also, they’ve lean toward satisfying the urban market. I’m all for it, but African American males make up 5-6% of the US population. How is Mike and Mike doing? Oh, that’s going away.

  17. 8generationsblue
    8:51 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Despite what the media and leftists want us to believe most Americans are not pro gay, transvestite, Colin Kaepernick, etc.

  18. mikeintn
    9:38 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    Well said #5, count me in also, I agree 100%.

  19. Mathlete
    9:51 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    We’re lucky to have you to write for us, Mrs T

  20. StuckinLville
    4:28 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

    I hope they fired Jemelle Hill, I can’t stand her. And Len was a very boring personality so no loss there. But I am really shocked over the firings of O’Neil and Brennon. Seems like those two were on everything.

  21. JoeMoney333
    7:49 am April 27, 2017 Permalink

    The amount of confirmation bias going on here is staggering.

  22. Basteballer
    12:36 pm April 27, 2017 Permalink

    I’m glad Matt finally made the right call and brought you on board. Took him long enough!! You clearly dominated the “contest” and should have won. I still hold a grudge from that!