ESPN President John Skipper is stepping down from the helm after confessing that he has had a long term substance abuse problem. Skipper, 61, allegedly met with the powers that be at ESPN and decided that resigning was the best thing to do for his continued battle with what he simply called “substance abuse” and for ESPN.
TMZ announced that the resignation of John Skipper was sudden and unexpected. This morning, ESPN President John Skipper released a statement about his departure.
ESPN President John Skipper Issued A Statement
“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN. I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem. I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always.”
John Skipper continued saying that he felt shame for having to confess what he perceives as his failure to the public.
“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down. As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”
But Skipper did not elaborate on his addiction or the substance that he had been abusing, whether it is drugs and alcohol. leading many to venture a guess.
A leader we respect & admire has made a tough but right call. John Skipper has resigned to take on a substance addiction. Former Prez Bodenheimer to lead transition. https://t.co/9j8m6U4LcK
— Chris LaPlaca (@espn_chris) December 18, 2017
Former ESPN President George Bodenheimer Will Temporarily Replace John Skipper
ABC is reporting that George Bodenheimer, the predecessor of John Skipper at ESPN, will be taking over the top ESPN job temporarily in order to hire a replacement for Skipper. Bodenheimer served as ESPN President from 1998 to 2011 and John Skipper came on in 2011. For the record, Disney Media owns both ESPN and ABC, and Disney Media CEO Bob Iger will be tasked with finding Skipper’s replacement as ESPN President.
Bob Iger also issued a statement about the sudden departure of John Skipper and what will happen now at ESPN.
“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him [John Skipper] well during this challenging time. I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family. With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John’s successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George’s support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role.”
Breaking: John Skipper resigns as ESPN president, the company announces. pic.twitter.com/LcQoBzBpkh
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 18, 2017
John Skipper Is The Second Major Exit This Year From ESPN
ESPN President John Skipper is the second big shake-up at ESPN this year. Back in February, Mike Lupica, who had been with the network for 3o years was fired, and his show, The Sports Reporters was canceled. A source at ESPN said that when Lupica was promoted from panelist to host of the show by John Skipper, it brought out his inner diva.
“He was a total diva. He was abusive to people, and mean to the staff. 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.”
John Skipper denied that Mike Lupica’s behavior played any role in the cancellation of The Sports Reporters, saying that Lupica had been a loyal employee for his tenure at ESPN.