Former ESPN President John Skipper claims that a cocaine dealer outside his circle attempted to extort him, and that’s why he abruptly stepped down from the Disney-owned company on December 18, 2017. In an interview with ESPN biographer James Andrew Miller published yesterday in the Hollywood Reporter, Skipper revealed he had discussed the situation with Disney boss Bob Iger and that they mutually agreed that he had put ESPN in an “untenable position.”
In his original resignation statement, Skipper gave substance addiction, in and of itself, as the reason for his departure.
Skipper’s resignation came only a few days after he hosted a pep rally at ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut-based headquarters called “Team Gathering 2017” where he was very bullish about ESPN’s future and one month after he had signed a contract extension with the self-named Worldwide Leader in Sports.
In the THR interview, Skipper also insisted that over the past 20 years, he only used cocaine infrequently and that it never interfered with his work.
Yesterday, Travis further commented on how the explanation as to why the ex-ESPN president skipped out on the job that he held since January 1, 2012, doesn’t add up.
For one thing, Travis wondered on his Outkick the Coverage blog in an essay headlined “ESPN President John Skipper Continues To Lie About His Firing,” why Skipper didn’t report the extortion attempt, which is a crime, to police, like former Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino or TV host David Letterman did, and let the authorities deal with it.
Moreover, Travis observed on his Outkick the Show Periscope broadcast, during which he weighed in on the same topic, coke use is hardly rare in the media/entertainment industry.
“If that’s the standard for what requires that you be fired, at least half of the top executives in Hollywood are going to be out immediately.”
Moreover, the law considers drug addiction a disease, and thus under the Family and Medical Act and its state counterparts, for example, or other statutes or company HR policies that might apply, employees can take time off to address health issues and still hold on to their jobs.
Additionally, if you truly have a “substance abuse issue” then Disney is not allowed to legally fire you for it. It’s an illness. John Skipper is still not telling the entire truth, but this version is at least somewhat closer.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 15, 2018
Skipper exited the network in the aftermath of a Boston Globe expose about the alleged misogynistic culture at ESPN. Against that backdrop, Clay Travis alleged on his Periscope show that John Skipper had a minor drug issue, but more importantly, had a substantial woman issue.
“He was extorted, but he was extorted by a woman who threatened to go public with their inappropriate relationship, and part of that inappropriate relationship involved cocaine. It was a small part of the overall inappropriate relationship.”
All the circumstances in play led to Disney and ESPN to conclude that John Skipper could not continue as an executive with the media company, Travis claimed.
Clay Travis concluded his blog post that “[t]he truth of the matter is this, John Skipper is lying and this interview made the fact that he is lying even more clear than it was in his initial statement when he ‘resigned’ for ‘substance addiction issues,'” and that the media is enabling a coverup.
In the past, Clay Travis has broken stories based on alleged leaks from ESPN employees, but in this instance, he did not indicate if he reached this conclusion based on any inside information.
In the THR interview, John Skipper revealed that he has received treatment and therapy for drug addiction and also denied ever having any inappropriate encounters, consensual relations, or engaging in any indiscretions with female employees at ESPN.
Watch Clay Travis discuss ex-ESPN skipper John Skipper on Periscope (NSFW for language) and draw your own conclusions.