The Sports Reporters, a Sunday morning mainstay on ESPN for almost thirty years has been canceled, and sources say that it is all the fault of sports writer Mike Lupica, who simply didn’t know when to shut up. The show, which was a forum for the week’s sports issues and news stories will wrap up for good in May.
In addition to hosting The Sports Reporters, Mike Lupica writes a syndicated column and also writes popular books. The Sports Reporters covers stories like college sports, like basketball and football, and a long list of pro sports, says the Inquisitr. But the problem with Mike Lupica is that he couldn’t make the transition from panel member to host.
— Vanessa Giertz (@VanessaGiertz) February 14, 2017
PageSix said that Mike Lupica has been on The Sports Reporters for many years, along with other sports writers, like Boston Globe‘s Bob Ryan and the Detroit Free Press‘ Mitch Albom, who would get together on Sundays to go over the week’s sports stories. The show was hosted for years by John Saunders, who died with no warning last summer, and Lupica lobbied hard for the hosting gig.
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But while Lupica blended in as a panel member, getting promoted to host brought out the sports writer’s inner diva. Suddenly, Lupica thought of himself as the boss, and not as a team member, and the crew, and finally, the network noticed.
“He was a total diva. He was abusive to people, and mean to the staff.”
— Jay Betsill (@TheFamousJay) February 14, 2017
But the bigger problem was that Mike Lupica didn’t seem to understand the role of a host, versus panel member, and took the opportunity to just keep talking, sharing his opinion over everyone else’s.
“When you’re a panelist, you are there to give your opinions. When you’re the host, you’re supposed to elicit other people’s opinions. He could never shut up.”
But John Skipper, the ESPN boss says that it isn’t true and that Mike Lupica did not tank the long-running show, The Sports Reporters, says Sporting News. Skipper says that no matter what sources on the set might say, he denies that Lupica was prone to diva fits. Skipper gave a statement, defending Lupica.
“The story suggesting that the decision I made about the future of The Sports Reporters had anything to do with Mike Lupica is completely inaccurate. Mike has been a constant throughout the show’s long history and played an important and constructive role in the difficult transition following the tragic death of his good friend and long-time host John Saunders.”
But an ESPN spokesman declined to make a statement about Lupica’s future with the sports network. And the sports fan responses to the Lupica story on Twitter largely came out against the sports writer.
“Lupica has always been a small petty little man…his chickens are coming home to roost.”
— Ken Fang (@fangsbites) February 14, 2017
Mike Lupica has also been canned from ESPN sports radio in 2015 after Lupica lost out in a ratings war against Mike Francesa of WFAN. The cancellation of The Sports Reporters was announced in Sports Illustrated by Richard Deitsch.
What do you think of Mike Lupica? Do you think he is the reason that The Sports Reporters on ESPN was canceled?
[Featured Image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images]