ESPN has taken a lot of heat over the phantom suspension/non-suspension it issued to college football writer Bruce Feldman last week.
Now, former ESPN baseball columnist Rob Neyer says he was given a similarly baseless suspension eleven years ago.
In 2000, Neyer had a column pulled from ESPN.com when the company said he hadn’t consulted the company’s business partner, Elias Sports Bureau. Neyer says he did, in fact, call Elias boss Steve Hirdt but had to leave a message. Since Elias’ input wasn’t necessary for the column, Neyer ran it without talking to Hirdt.
After ESPN pulled the column from its website, Neyer explained the situation in a post on his personal blog.
ESPN didn’t take too kindly to that. As Neyer remembers it, the subsequent conversation with his editor’s boss went as follows, “Rob, I have to suspend you for two weeks. Why? Because you criticised ESPN.”
When Neyer brought up the fact that there was no such thing as a two-week suspension in his contract, only a one-week suspension or outright termination, ESPN reduced his penalty to one week.
Obviously this is just one side of the story, and doesn’t contain any really damning evidence against ESPN.
But in light of the Feldman situation, it’s notable that ESPN has a history of playing fast and loose with suspensions.
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