Do you remember the mashup video posted about a month ago during the middle of the Mike Francesa v Keith Olbermann feud that featured Olby rapping Tupac's Hit 'Em Up?  It was a humorous video that made the rounds on sports blogs, collecting 95,000 views on YouTube, but didn't quite reach viral popularity.  

So why would we be talking about a mildly popular, one month old mashup of Keith Olbermann? 

John Koblin Deadspin reports ESPN fired the producer responsible for its creation.

In an unbelievable, heavy-handed display of authoritarian behavior, ESPN sacked Will Schleichert, a production assistant who created the video.  Schleichert e-mailed us the video on November 14th and we posted it the next day.  Like Deadspin, there was no knowledge on our part that he had worked at ESPN.  Apparently some execs in Bristol were not pleased with Schleichert's funny YouTube creation gaining publicity, suspended him, and then fired him…

"ESPN wasn't happy because he'd used video from the network without permission and uploaded it to his personal YouTube account. This is a transgression. A "fireable" offense, in the words of one employee, who added that it was nevertheless "unnerving to see him disposed of so quickly and unceremoniously." Another ESPN source said "they'd have to cut a majority of the PA's and AP's at the company if they were to enforce that rule" since plenty of them have "a personal clip reel on Vimeo and YouTube." ESPN has a long history of dispensing punishment unevenly."

That last point is the most disturbing.  DJ Steve Porter makes a mashup video for Skip Bayless and it gets played and promoted nonstop on ESPN airwaves.  ESPN PA makes a mashup video for Keith Olbermann and gets canned???  A suspension for making an unauthorized video is one thing, whatever, but a firing?  Good grief.  Compared to all the other things ESPN employees have done in the past couple years that they haven't been punished for, this seems like such a massive overreaction,   As if ESPN didn't appear cold-hearted enough when they released Howie Schwab, this is pure Grinch-like behavior from the Bristol suits.


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