ESPN, the popular cable sports network, has recently made significant layoffs in an effort to reduce its operating budget. Among the high-profile individuals who have been let go are Jalen Rose and Jeff Van Gundy, both notable NBA analysts. Rose, 50, was the first to be laid off, with reports suggesting that his contract termination will save ESPN at least $3 million annually.
Rose’s role at the network had already been reduced when his daily program with David Jacoby was canceled at the end of 2022. The former NBA player has been a source of controversy during his tenure at ESPN. In a Twitter video last year, Rose accused people who use the name “Mount Rushmore” of racism, suggesting that the name should be offensive to all Americans, particularly Native Americans. This statement garnered attention and drew a response from South Dakota’s Republican Governor, Kristi Noem, who firmly stated that the name would not be canceled under her watch.
Rose has also made controversial remarks regarding political slogans. In 2018, he referred to phrases like “Make America Great Again” and “America’s pastime” as dog whistles for racists. His statements generated debate and criticism.
ESPN has also parted ways with other broadcasters known for their woke viewpoints. Max Kellerman, a boxing expert and former co-host of Stephen A. Smith, was among the notable layoffs. Kellerman drew attention when he criticized golfer Tiger Woods for suggesting that people should respect the presidency, even when athletes were boycotting White House visits. Kellerman argued that Woods’ statement was thoughtless and questioned the respect the office of the president confers on its occupant.
The ESPN Layoffs are wow 😮 pic.twitter.com/OHiRHn2mGG
— Mekka Don (@MekkaDonMusic) July 1, 2023
While some of the layoffs may be seen as a response to controversial statements made by these broadcasters, others, such as NFL analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Suzy Kolber, were also let go. These personnel changes reflect ESPN’s broader effort to reduce costs and streamline its operations.