On Tuesday, Bloomberg published a profile of Steve Young, focusing mostly on the Hall of Fame quarterback and current ESPN analyst’s private equity firm. And from a sports fan’s perspective, there’s really only one takeaway from the piece: Steve Young does not care very much about his job at ESPN.
The lead of the story, written by Alex Sherman, is about how Young ducks from the Monday Night Countdown set to glad-hand with people involved with HGGC, the private equity firm he launched in 2007. HGGC, Sherman reports, “uses Monday Night Football games as marketing events.”
Then there’s this incredible passage:
Young says he may have quit ESPN years ago if not for his private equity partners, who like him to keep a high profile. When he works a Monday Night game for the network, he spends no more than an hour or two at the stadium preparing his commentary, he says; the rest of the time, he’s holed up in HGGC’s suite, cramming for deals. Once the game starts, he barely watches the action. A couple of transactions, he notes, have even been agreed to with handshakes in the suites.
“My wife hates football, and my kids don’t really care,” Young says. “I see myself as a deal guy first. I’ve put football behind me. Roger Staubach once told me—and I’ll never forget it: ‘When you retire, run. Never look back.’ ”
So, to get this straight, Young works for ESPN only because his partners want him to, he does the bare minimum to prepare for the job, he ignores the game he’s supposed to be commenting on, he sees Monday Night Countdown mostly as a vehicle to enhance his other business, and he considers himself to have moved on from football… even though he still works in football.
And ESPN, as far as we know, is totally cool with all that. Hm.