ESPN has had a tumultuous year.
Declining ratings, layoffs and suspensions have all hit the worldwide leader during the year. Most recently, ESPN faced a backlash after it suspended Jemele Hill for comments she made on Twitter about Trump. People were not happy about that move in the least bit, taking to Twitter in support of Hill and her honesty and her right to free speech.
But hiding in the shadows during the firestorm behind Hill’s suspension and coverage of athlete protests against social injustice was the news that they had signed a deal with Barstool Sports and their show “Barstool Van Talk.” Did they not know what they were getting into when they signed that deal? Did they not know who they were dealing with? They put Hill on the bench but Barstool Sports has absolutely no filter or no hesitation when it comes to saying anything and everything and they thought that this was going to fly? Or maybe they were trying to balance out the political correctness with some unpolitical correctness and appeal to a different, more “rowdy,” sports demographic.
We all knew better and that it was only a matter of time before their shock jock-type ways rubbed ESPN the wrong way, and that happened a week ago when they went at ESPN Sunday Countdown host, Sam Ponder, in the way we all know so well.
Sam Ponder on Twitter
Welcome to the ESPN family @BarstoolBigCat (& welcome to all ur minions who will respond to this so kindly)
Well today ESPN decided to terminate their relationship with the show.
ESPN PR on Twitter
Statement from ESPN President John Skipper about Barstool Van Talk:
This should not surprise anyone and we’re sure that the team at Barstool is sharpening up their knives in preparation for retaliation.