Greg Bedard

When Sports Illustrated launched Peter King’s The MMQB football vertical in 2013, one of the earliest and most prominent hires was Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe, who was brought on even before the site had an official name. Fast forward to 2017, and now Bedard has been let go. He announced the move on Twitter Thursday:

As Bedard noted, SI also cut Don Banks and Jim Trotter in the recent past:

Peter Bukowski noted that other prominent recent SI NFL losses include Doug Farrar and Melissa Jacobs:

Changeover happens, of course, and SI does still have prominent football writers on The MMQB, including King, Jenny Vrentas, Robert Klemko, Emily Kaplan, Andy Benoit, Andrew Brandt, Tim Rohan and Albert Breer. The latter two are relatively recent hires as well, as they both joined in April 2016. But seeing someone like Bedard cut is notable, especially as he was brought on board specifically for The MMQB. He did magazine work as well, of course, but he was heavily involved in the vertical’s online coverage. Thus, moving on from him can’t be summed up simply with the common “we’re emphasizing digital” line.

While Bedard had a few columns that didn’t go over well with the internet, leading to him appearing in our hot takes column a couple of times, his work at SI was generally quite positive. He demonstrated a good mix of reporting and opining, and wrote solid stories both for the magazine and for The MMQB. His presence also helped give The MMQB some credibility, especially early on, as he was already quite a well-known NFL writer before heading to the site. Losing him will be a blow for SI’s football coverage.

This comes at an interesting time for SI parent Time Inc. They asked for acquisition offers on the whole company in late February, and Keith J. Kelly of The New York Post wrote this week that a source described the bidding as “a competitive process with multiple suitors.” While SI is only one part of Time Inc’s many publications, it’s an important one; women’s magazine publisher Meredith has been called “the front-runner,” but they’re reported to have very little interest in SI and might spin it off, while it’s been reportedly much closer to the center of plans from other suitors such as Edgar Bronfman Jr. (who already had one Time Inc. takeover bid turned down late last year) and Jahm Najafi (a part-owner of the Phoenix Suns).

In either case, the sale means SI has even more incentive than normal to make their books look good right now. That can lead to a tough balancing act between coverage and finances, though. In this case, the latter appears to have led to their parting ways with Bedard.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.