As More ESPN Layoffs Loom, Ex-Employees Speak Out

Life can be tough after you leave the so-called "Worldwide Leader in Sports."

ESPN Is Expected to Lay Off More than 100 Staffers in Late November
(Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

As ESPN begins another round of layoffs, The Ringer checked in with some of the sports network’s former employees who were cut loose earlier this year.

Some, like baseball writer Jayson Stark, are essentially freelancing. Stark is still writing about baseball for various platforms and has found productive ways to fill his considerably looser schedule. As one example, he and his family watched the solar eclipse from a mountain in Oregon, something he wouldn’t have had time for in his ESPN days. “That was pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever done or seen,” he told The Ringer.

Others, like Calvin Watkins, hopped right back into writing. Watkins covered the Houston Rockets for ESPN, and now writes for Newsday, but that opportunity didn’t come right away. “People are almost afraid to talk to you about jobs because they think you’re making $2 million a year at ESPN,” Watkins said. “They think they can’t afford you.”

Jaymee Sire went from ESPN to Iron Chef Showdown, which is fun, but much less secure. “My whole career I’ve had a contract for two or three or four years … whereas a lot of these food and travel shows, they shoot 10 episodes. They might renew the show and they might renew you. But there’s nothing guaranteed, really.”

But really, the best possible scenario is what happened to ex-ESPN anchor Jay Crawford, who still had two years on his contract when he was laid off. He’s getting what pro wrestlers call “mailbox money” to not appear on TV until 2019.

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