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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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ESPN’s Future Takes Center Stage A Week After Major Layoffs

  • The sports media world is wondering what the network will look like moving foward.
  • Exits from longtime personalities like Jeff Van Gundy have shocked many.
Gabriella Ricciardi / ESPN Images

One week since ESPN’s drastic layoffs of prominent on-air talent, sports media is still wondering why certain names got the ax — and what the network will look like moving forward.

Steve Young, Jeff Van Gundy, Suzy Kolber, Max Kellerman, and Todd McShay are among the most well-known personalities to have departed ESPN as part of last week’s cuts.

The exit of Van Gundy — who called games on ESPN’s lead NBA team alongside Mark Jackson and Mike Breen — has been particularly puzzling. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who appears on ESPN’s “First Take,” speculated on his SiriusXM radio show that NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN to fire Van Gundy over his criticism of NBA referees.

That theory echoes a sentiment from Bill Simmons, who was also surprised by Van Gundy’s departure. On his podcast on The Ringer this week, Simmons reiterated his previous report that late NBA commissioner David Stern stopped ESPN from putting Stan Van Gundy on its “NBA Countdown” in 2012 because he “didn’t want two Van Gundys” at the network.

New-Look Network

The conspiracies are a symptom of the confusion ESPN’s moves have generated, as well as the uncertainty over its future.

With high-profile spots for NFL and NBA coverage now up for grabs, FOS took a look at how Doris Burke and Mina Kimes could see elevated roles and evaluated the prospect of Shannon Sharpe coming on board.

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