Senior Deadspin Editor Fired For Ignoring “Stick to Sports” Memo

Barry Petchesky tweeted Tuesday that he had been fired for "not sticking to sports"

Deadspin Relaunching Under New Top Editor Jim Rich
An employee of the website Deadspin shows a logo at their office. (John Taggart for The Washington Post via Getty)
The Washington Post via Getty Im
By Carl Caminetti / October 30, 2019 11:12 am

In what could be a harbinger of things to come, a longtime employee at the popular sports blog Deadspin has been fired for not listening to edicts imposed by the site’s new management team.

Staffers at Deadspin, which was purchased by private equity firm Great Hill Partners and now falls under a rebranded company called G/O Media, were given a memo on Monday that instructed them to stick to sports and leave non-sports stories to G/O’s other websites.

“To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus,” G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment wrote. “Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”

That mandate was met with a flurry of non-sports being posted to Deadspin, ostensibly under the direction of the site’s interim editor in chief Barry Petchesky.

On Tuesday, Petchesky, a Deadspin employee for more than a decade tweeted he’d been fired for “not sticking to sports.”

Deadspin’s previous editor in chief, Megan Greenwell, left in August, due to conflict with Maidment and G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller.

While Petchesk’s firing doesn’t necessarily spell the end for Deadspin, it certainly might.

“The eulogies have already begun across Twitter, because even if the most pessimistic outcome doesn’t come to pass, it seems unclear how the site can continue to exist as it has under Spanfeller and Maidment’s increasingly disastrous leadership,” writes Jeremy Gordon of The Outline. “If it beggars your belief that a group of highly paid idiots can detonate an original, profitable, well-read publication out of ego and callousness, well: It’s happening here, and could happen again, even if there isn’t another site like Deadspin to ruin.”

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