Mike Lupica’s reputation within sports media circles is not good. The words “insufferable,”  “pompous,” and “diva” have been used to describe him and those are the kinder ones.

The latest story from Page Six’s Richard Johnson does nothing to refute that. Johnson reports that the blame for the cancellation of The Sports Reporters can be squarely placed at the foot of Lupica. The New York Daily News columnist has been a regular panelist on The Sports Reporters along with Mitch Albom, Bob Ryan and others, but when host John Saunders passed away last August, Lupica became the moderator of the show.

Last month, ESPN announced that The Sports Reporters final program will air in May.

UPDATE: ESPN has issued this statement from President John Skipper denying that Lupica was the main reason for the cancellation of The Sports Reporters:

“The story suggesting that the decision I made about the future of The Sports Reporters had anything to do with Mike Lupica is completely inaccurate. Mike has been a constant throughout the show’s long history and played an important and constructive role in the difficult transition following the tragic death of his good friend and long-time host John Saunders.”

Johnson reports that when Saunders passed away last August, Lupica wanted desperately to be the man who replaced him. But Johnson writes that Lupica didn’t help the program’s cause by mistreating staff and being a bloviator.

“He was a total diva,” one insider said. “He was abusive to people, and mean to the staff.”

But the biggest problem was that Lupica talked too much.

“When you’re a panelist, you are there to give your opinions. When you’re the host, you’re supposed to elicit other people’s opinions. He could never shut up,” said my source.

There’s no word from either Lupica or ESPN on this. We’ll see if ESPN will have Lupica make the rounds on TV as it did Steve Young or if radio silence will be maintained.

[Page Six]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • bibliomaine

    “It felt like the biggest Tuesday ever when I read this post.” I don’t hate Mike Lupica but I definitely get where these knocks are coming from and it’s way more than the Post/News blood feud. The guy is ego-tastic.

  • JRR

    @awfulannouncing @bomani_jones The death of three giants (Wiley, Schaap, and Saunders) couldn’t kill it,..but a living @MikeLupica can.

  • Respected Citizen

    Him, and ESPN’s necessary cost-cutting.

  • Christian The W

    Okay ESPN now used the save money to BRING BACK CHEAP SEATS!!!!

  • Rey Henry

    is this a surprise to anyone?

  • They could have just fired him.

  • Aplethora

    Mike “Napoleon” Lupica should go back to writing crappy books that nobody reads. Despite Skippers feeble denial, everybody knows he is an insufferable twat.

  • Steve R

    I use to read Lupica’s stuff in the Daily News decades ago but then I turned twelve and realized how juvenile his writing was so I stopped. After he stole Lisa Olson story about Lawrence Tynes I stopped reading the NYDN altogether.

  • Edward McKinney Shipp

    Wait…When did Lupica take time from writing self-righteous leftist crap to talk about sports?

  • alnc

    Gosh, he is a painful dweeb to listen to, hated to even listen to him speak with that whiney voice, left the show when I could not take him anymore..

  • Dan Grondy

    I 100% believe this story, Ken Fang. If you look up “Little Shit” in the dictionary, there is a picture of Lupica

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  • souvien

    Lupica, Jay Mariotti, John Feinstein…the dream team on FS1’s new show..EXTREME SPORTS REPORTERS!!!

    Hosted by hologram Bill Conlin!

  • Bradley Jakubiec

    HAAHAHAHA Too Funny – I never watched because of Lupica – hated that guy

  • Russ Horn

    The Sports Reporters once a good program ruined buy the sanctimonious snowflake Mike Lupica

  • Mark D. Hauser

    This doesn’t make any sense. First or all, if the public hated so hated him so much universally, why was he on the show more than any other person over the last 30 years? ESPN is not dumb, and they have never cared about likeable personalities — how else do you explain Steven A. Smith (and previously Skip Bayless and Ray Lewis)? Secondly, why give him the hosting job in the first place if that is not in his personality? Just give it to someone else — that’s what they did when Dick Schaap died. Third, they could have just fired him or not renewed his contract. I have no idea why they cancelled “The Sports Reporters and Mike Lupica can certainly be annoying at times since he thinks his opinion is the only one that matters, but I doubt logically that he is the reason the show is being cancelled.

    • horse

      The reality is, as much as I and so many others love The Sports Reporters, it’s just not a relevant program in this day and age. A weekly show breaking down the biggest stories of the previous week just doesn’t play in the age of the 24/7 cycle. Mike Lupica is a terrible choice to succeed stalwarts like Dick Schaap and John Saunders. There is no question about that. But the decision to cancel was probably a long time coming even if the venerable Saunders was still alive and well. They could have brought on someone more suitable for the position – Bob Ley, Mike Tirico if he hadn’t jumped ship, Tony Kornheiser, maybe John Andersen – or gone with a younger voice like Van Pelt or even Tony Reali, who has done a great job with Around the Horn and PTI. But it never would have changed the fundamental flaw of a show like Sports Reporters in today’s media. It’s sad, and I will miss the show.

  • CarmenXVI

    I can believe that Lupica is the reason that the Sports Reporters has been cancelled.

    I, and many of my friends, would not bother to watch it if he (Lupica) was even on the panel. When he became the host I never watched it again.

    The guy is totally insufferable. His condescending attitude was a constant turnoff. He seemed like a classic case of ‘small man syndrome”.

  • Bill Cord

    Blaming Lupica is an easy solution that could have been resolved by taking him off the show. ESPN thought the show appealed to older viewers. It will be replaced by something like E 60 or another loudmouth show.

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  • Eliot Schickler

    This cancellation is reprehensible because I always loved the Sports Reporters! What makes it worse is that this happened after 29 years and before 30 years – which is a Round Numbers Violation! It needs to be on until it’s 30 years on the dot! John Skipper is a SINNER for this desecration!