New Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd didn’t leave ESPN on the best of terms, with Bristol letting him go early following his controversial remarks about Dominican baseball players. Now that the pesky duct tape has come off, he’s taking some shots at his former employer. On Wednesday’s edition of The Herd (which airs on FS1 and Fox Sports Radio), Cowherd called ESPN “incredibly reactionary” for succumbing to NCAA pressure and removing “Cover Alerts,” managed to link Bristol’s layoffs to their backing out of a deal to buy equity in DraftKings, and called Mike and Mike “Mickey and Mickey in the morning.” Here’s video of the clip:

And a transcription:

“Having worked at ESPN for a decade, and now having worked at Fox, yeah, I’ve been in this business long enough I know people at both. It’s been a pretty easy transition for me because I knew Troy Aikman, I knew Howie Long, I knew Jimmy Johnson, I knew a lot of the executives here, and I have great respect for this place and that place. But I saw something yesterday where ESPN is putting an end to their, quote, ‘Cover Alert,’ unquote, that they brought in to start the season. Basically you watch a football game on ESPN, they had cover alerts, “Hey, your team just covered.” And the bottom line is the NCAA executives came out, were not happy and they said ‘We don’t like it.'”

“If I can be critical of ESPN, they’ve become incredibly reactionary over the last three or four years for a variety of reasons. They’re going to have 300 layoffs here, it’s incredibly sad. There’s a lot of executives protecting their space and their pensions, and they’ve become incredibly reactionary, but there’s a lot of great people over there. But here’s the thing: sports gambling’s not going anywhere. But ESPN’s in a very odd place with this, because they wanted to buy DraftKings. This company owns 10 per cent of DraftKings, ESPN wanted to own 10 per cent of DraftKings. They made a bid for it, Disney came in and said ‘No, you don’t.’ There is a struggle with that company, the former employer, right now, about gambling. Because ESPN is owned by Disney. When you think of Disney, you think of Lion King, you think of Frozen, you think Dancing With Stars, and you think Pocahontas, and you think kids, and theme parks.”

“You know, their morning show, Mike and Mike, we used to call it ‘Mickey and Mickey in the morning.’ It’s very Disney, it’s very safe, it’s very likeable, nobody’s going to get yelled at. It’s a very easy place for advertisers to come in, park their insurance commercial and nobody’s going to be offended. That’s the culture; it’s Disney-owned. Fox is owned by a family, The New York Post, Bill O’Reilly, Sons of Anarchy, some strong political opinions, Family Guy can be offensive. So you have different cultures. This culture’s very, very…they don’t care what you put on your Twitter account. They don’t give a rip. My Twitter account was monitored at the other place. It’s a different world. So if you’re seeing this story, you’re wondering why they started and ended it, that’s the culture I lived in. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but it’s a Disney culture. We’re not, we’re a family culture, a family that considers themselves an underdog and loves risk, which for me, as a talk-show host, is a great place to be.”

“So, when I look at all this stuff about gambling, you’re either comfortable with it or you’re not. And I’m comfortable with it. I wrote about it in my first book, my second book. Everyone’s gambling. Our schools are paid for, in this country, overwhelmingly by state lotteries. If our kids are getting education based on lotteries—which by the way have a 90 per cent hold, you have no chance to win a lottery, sports gambling you have a 50 per cent chance to win if you do any reasonable homework. So it’s funny what we consider dirty gambling and safe gambling. Like, we’re outraged by sports gambling. Sports gambling, you can win money tonight. You have virtually no shot to win the Powerball; they have like a 90 per cent hold. Even when you win Powerball, they don’t give you half of it. Think of it; if it’s up to $180 million, the way they offer it, you want a lump sum, you’re going to get less. So, you know, it’s funny to watch my former employer struggle with this. Just to explain the way it is; it’s Pocahontas, it’s Lion King, they’re not comfortable with gambling.”

Those are quite the comments from Cowherd, especially the shot at Mike and Mike (which he’s not wrong about; that show was seen as a safe enough place that the NFL sent Roger Goodell there after the league’s Deflategate court loss. About the only people they’ve offended are Chad Johnson and Bill Simmons.) It’s going to be interesting to see if there’s any reaction to this from ESPN or their personalities, or if their Pocahontas and Lion King strategy will keep them from firing back…


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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