NFL insider Dianna Russini is leaving ESPN for The Athletic, according to The New York Post. She would be the latest big-name employee to leave ESPN after around 20 on-air employees were laid off in June.
Russini will write NFL stories and make video and podcast contributions for The Athletic, which The New York Times acquired for $550 million in January 2022. The Post reports that ESPN wanted to keep Russini and offered her a raise to stay. She joined ESPN in 2015 and has been a lead NFL reporter for NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown, Fantasy Football Now, Get Up, SportsCenter, and ESPN Radio.
At ESPN, Russini started as a SportsCenter anchor before she moved to NFL, reporting for the network in 2017. ESPN’s NFL coverage will look much different this coming season without Russini and a slew of other longtime on-air football talents who were let go in June, including Suzy Kolber, Keyshawn Johnson, Steve Young, Max Kellerman, Matt Hasselback, Todd McShay. Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Jalen Rose were among the other NBA-focused talents to be laid off by ESPN.
Russini’s departure also comes as longtime ESPN host Bomani Jones was not offered a contract renewal. NBA analyst Vince Carter is also facing an expiring contract that’s not expected to be renewed as Disney continues its cost-cutting measures.
The New York Times recently said The Athletic recorded an operating loss of $7.8 million during the second quarter. In July, the NYT shut down its sports desk and offered to move the impacted journalists to other departments as The Athletic’s staff effectively became its sports department.