ESPN President John Skipper Leaves Sports News Organization To Fight Addiction Issues
ESPN President John Skipper is saying farewell to the sports television network he built for over 20 years.
Skipper's Farewell To ESPN
On Monday, Dec. 18, Skipper released a statement that changed the landscape of sports television. Skipper publically revealed that he was battling substance addiction.
"I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction," Skipper said in a statement. "I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is take care of my problem. I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign."
In his statement, the former ESPN President asked for privacy as he and his family continue to deal with Skipper's struggles with addiction. Skipper also praised his colleagues at ESPN and predicted a secure future for his co-workers.
"To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege." I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN's success."
ESPN Rallies For Skipper
Moments after Skipper issued his farewell statement, several of Skipper's ESPN colleagues sent him farewell messages on Twitter.
Numerous reporters talked about how Skipper spoke to them about their work and how he helped mold them into the writers that they were today. Other reporters and anchors such as Wayne Drehs and Jemele Hill talked how much of an impact that Skipper made on their careers.
Former SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann tweeted about the news of Skipper's departure meant to him.
This is devastating news about John Skipper. I enjoyed working with him as much as anybody I’ve ever known and our friendship has continued. He’s been innovative and broadminded and I’m literally shaking learning he was in such place. I pray he gets the help and healing he needs.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 18, 2017
Temporary Leadership for ESPN
The Walt Disney Company chief executive officer Bob Iger re-introduced former ESPN president George Bodenheimer in a statement. Bodenheimer is expected to help Iger find Skipper's replacement and is likely to be at the sports network up to 90 days.Bodenheimer served as ESPN's president from Nov. 19, 1998, to the end of 2011.
Bodenheimer's presence could not come at a better time. A few days ago, the Walt Disney Company purchased over $52.4 billion of Fox's entertainment assets. Disney's purchase may or may not have included ESPN's rival sports channels: Fox Sports.
Skipper is the latest public figure to announce they were dealing with addiction and substance abuse this year. Earlier in 2017, the public learned about Ben Affleck, Aaron Carter, and Fergie's battles with substance abuse.