This Is... SNORTScenter
On Thursday, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, former president of ESPN John Skipper released details of his sudden resignation from ESPN and Disney back on December 18.
To summarize this interview between John and ESPN historian James Andrew Miller, Skipper explains that it was a substance abuse issue with cocaine and a drug dealer looking to extort him that led him to resign.
Was he that afraid that the world would find out a multi-million dollar, entertainment executive uses cocaine? Whats next, we find out a music executive gets caught smoking marijuana?
Skipper explains how he was always careful with who he would purchase his drug of choice from and that his substance abuse issues never got in the way of work or his own personal life.
JAM: Did your cocaine use ever get in the way of your work?
Skipper: Never. At ESPN I did not use at work, nor with anyone at work, or with anyone I did business with. I never allowed it to interfere with my work, other than a missed plane and a few canceled morning appointments. I’ve never been a daily user. My use over the past two decades has, in fact, been quite infrequent. I judge that I did a very good job and that it did not get in the way of my work. I worked hard, I worked smart. I worked all the time.
Firstly, I think it's evident that John hasn't watched a single show on ESPN, with ratings plummeting and several rounds of layoffs since his arrival in 2012, it is clear something was wrong in the workplace.
Secondly, I'm no addiction expert, but this doesn't sound much like an addiction and sounds more like a recreational user. A real blow head has cocaine take over their life, not someone who dabbles infrequently and now suddenly must flush all his years of hard work down the toilet after slipping up once.
His sudden resignation came 5 days after a very passionate speech with enthusiastic blue prints about the future of ESPN. He stated "we are all in this together." This came at a time where ESPN was under the hot lamp with harassment allegations, some sexual, some sexist. Those are very misleading words from a man who planned to resign just 5 days later and this raised a lot of question marks.
First question. If someone planned to extort you publicly for purchasing drugs wouldn't that require them to admit to selling hard drugs? A task that's very daunting for a drug dealer. A logical man would have responded, saying "If you tell the press I'm a user then I'll tell the cops you're a drug dealer." That wouldn't even be considered snitching that would be reverse extortion and John could still keep his street credit.
Second question. How many people would take the word of a scummy, low life, drug dealer over a prominent and in many cases likeable co-chairman of DISNEY???
Third question. Since you signed a major contract extension earlier that month and ESPN was almost clueless about your issue, since employees weren't aware and it never directly affected your work, why wouldn't they offer some form of counseling or leave of absence to help fight your demons?
Fourth question. Isn't the worse case scenario of a drug dealer extorting you to expose your occasional drug use lead to the exact same result as what is happening now? Only difference is you have done all this voluntarily rather than rolling the dice and telling the drug dealer to take his threats and shove it.
Those are the questions that needed to be asked in this contradictory interrogation by the Hollywood Reporter. Which ultimately was all an effort to protect another person in power and paint him as the victim. Perhaps, this was all an attempt to use his occasional drug use, and the odd cancelled morning appointment as a scapegoat to avoid another high profiled sexual harassment scandal. Especially since CEO of Disney Bob Eger is rumored to run for the Democratic presidential party in 2020 and we all know how crucial the female vote is in the democratic party.
Unfortunately for John, Clay Travis is onto him and snapped a picture that went viral only 11 days after his resignation.
As Travis writes:
A trip out to have a couple of drinks with your friend would all be perfectly normal and a total non-story except for the fact that Skipper just resigned from ESPN 11 days ago citing his struggles with substance addiction and his desire to get help for that addiction.
Now maybe Skipper wasn’t addicted to alcohol — and it was some other drug instead — but if you have such an issue with substance addiction that you need to immediately resign from ESPN should you really be out drinking 11 days later with one of the most prominent employees at your former company? And if you’re Skipper’s good friend, Dan LeBatard, would you let your friend go out drinking with you if you knew he had a true issue with substance abuse and you were crying about it on your radio show 11 days ago?
That seems highly unlikely.
John wasn't able to answer that, however, he was able to squash all concerns regarding sexual harassment in Thursday's interview.
JAM: John, perhaps unavoidably in a post-Weinstein world, there has been speculation about work-related issues involving female colleagues contributing to your exit. Is there truth to any of this?
Skipper: Those rumors and speculations are categorically and definitively untrue. There were no such incidents at work during my entire tenure, including no allegations. I did not traffic in that kind of activity. The company is not engaged in any actions on my behalf and never has been. There were no affairs or inappropriate relationships at work nor indiscretions other than what I have disclosed. My behavior relative to women at ESPN was always respectful. I did not touch anybody inappropriately. I did not tell off-color jokes. I treated everybody with respect. The principle reason I chose to write the statement I wrote — to disclose substance abuse — was to make it clear that this didn’t have anything to do with harassment, settled lawsuits or any internal indiscretions. I never had any relationships, even consensual adult relationships, with anybody at work. And as far as I know, there was never a single claim of one.
JAM: And if someone were to claim that?
Skipper: It would be categorically mendacious.
I had a personal problem with an illegal substance, and any issues around it were and are personal. There is nothing that will come out that will contradict what I have said here.
I understand that drugs and drug dealers attached to your name is a terrible look and I'm not saying that he has harassed former employees. Like the Skipper says, that would be categorically mendacious of me. But there is certainly more to this narrative and I would never allow a deadbeat drug dealer ruin my livelihood and legacy with extortion threats. Plus, you would think Dr Blofield would know how to handle dealing with criminals.