A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks

Are ESPN Suspensions Becoming Business Decisions?

Keith Olbermann is merely the latest ESPN employee to be suspended. Who knows why ESPN thinks suspensions are a good idea, as compared to internal discipline, fines, or firings. For whatever reason, a large media corporation has decided to imitate the tactics of the NFL towards suspensions. But the list of ESPN employees suspended is extensive. A partial list by Tom Ley is here.

Reading the Tom Ley list, one mostly sees ESPN personalities being suspended for poor behavior that was physically abusive, is sexist, or is racist. That's as one might expect. But note the last few suspensions of high-profile ESPN personalities:

Bill Simmons was suspended for supposedly violating ESPN's editorial standards...but more likely, because of his criticism of Roger Goodell and the NFL.


Dan Le Batard was suspended for paying for billboards in Cleveland that taunted Lebron James...and thus sullying a prime story for the NBA.

Keith Law was suspended from Twitter for...well ESPN refused to comment, but evolution seems a good pick:


Keith Olbermann was suspended for comments made about and to Penn State students.

By themselves, each decision is somewhat defensible as more than just a cynical political choice to sacrifice an ESPN employee for the sake of a business relationship. But taken as a whole, ESPN's suspensions are trending more towards satisfying various powerful sports leagues or political constituencies rather than disciplining employee misdeeds.

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