As the news of John Skipper’s resignation settles in, reaction from within and outside ESPN is coming in. To say the news was a surprise was an understatement.
Keith Olbermann, who was lured back to ESPN in 2014 for a brief two-year stint, had this to say about the news:
This is devastating news about John Skipper. I enjoyed working with him as much as anybody I’ve ever known and our friendship has continued. He’s been innovative and broadminded and I’m literally shaking learning he was in such place. I pray he gets the help and healing he needs.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 18, 2017
Many others were thankful for Skipper’s leadership at ESPN.
John Skipper is a friend and today my friend needs help and love and support. I wish him all the strength and courage in the world to fight his addiction.
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) December 18, 2017
Forgiveness and empathy. I think we’re so unforgiving in society. I say this as I am deeply saddened that John Skipper stepped down. I get the optics. I get the climate. I get it may be the “right” thing to do. It still sucks. He’s been a good guy to many.
— Cari Champion (@CariChampion) December 18, 2017
John Skipper is one of the finest people I’ve ever worked for. He’s been incredibly supportive throughout my career at ESPN. This isn’t company-speak. I seriously cannot express how much respect I have for him.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 18, 2017
Twitter could expand to a million characters & there still wouldn’t be enough room to explain the crazy-big impact John Skipper has had on sports as a whole, ESPN and on so many of us individually. He’s going to be deeply missed.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) December 18, 2017
Didn’t have an opportunity 2 work under John Skipper for long, but I’m thankful for his support and amazed by his candor about a deeply private battle that he didn’t have to address publicly. All the prayers to him and his family in his ongoing recovery.
— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) December 18, 2017
John Skipper empowered a lot of people who don’t look and sound like people who have traditionally done these jobs. I remain deeply grateful for that
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) December 18, 2017
2 years ago my dad died right before the NBA finals. He was my hero. My mom insisted he would want me to do my job. So I did. At game 1, John Skipper asked me "are we doing all we can for you?" That's the kind of man he is. I wish him the best as he conquers this challenge.
— stan verrett (@stanverrett) December 18, 2017
John Skipper's commitment to diversity & inclusion at ESPN has been not only inspiring, but comforting to those of us who want to believe things are headed in the right direction. Deeply saddened to hear of his resignation.
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) December 18, 2017
John Skipper is a major reason ESPN is so committed to investigative journalism and longform storytelling. We've always known he had our backs. I'm deeply grateful and wish him well.
— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) December 18, 2017
Can't even imagine the courage it took to face addiction so publicly. Wishing John Skipper the strength he will need to face it.
— Jane McManus (@janesports) December 18, 2017
From outside ESPN, here’s more reaction:
Stomach in knots after reading Sports Illustrated’s harrowing sexeral harassment piece on Panthers’ Jerry Richardson.
Not 30 seconds later, news update hits my phone: ESPN President John Skipper stepping down due to substance abuse.
Can’t even formulate a thought right now…
— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) December 18, 2017
There have been few better and more genuinely influential growers of soccer in America in my lifetime than John Skipper. Best wishes to him and his family.
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) December 18, 2017
Can't think of anyone in media who has done more for the growth of soccer in America than John Skipper. Wish him and his family the best of luck in fighting this thing. https://t.co/KEvaGRoKqq
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) December 18, 2017
Somehow, hearing this today rings differently than when I sat with him. #OriginsESPN #JohnSkipper pic.twitter.com/y9xGl4kSYA
— jamesmiller (@JimMiller) December 18, 2017
There was also this from Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy, who has had plenty of battles with ESPN:
Espn president John Skipper resigns effective immediately. Long live the king! pic.twitter.com/6rWNWyUNkF
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) December 18, 2017
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was this reaction from Dan Le Batard, who choked up while talking about Skipper’s resignation:
Le Batard said in part:
”This is the reason I work here,” Le Batard said, later adding: “I know I look it and I sound like a fool right now, but I want you to understand something – and I don’t know what is coming, I haven’t talked to him, so I don’t know how he is doing, and I care about him – But just so that you understand, this person has created everything that exists here at ESPN for us. He did it because of how he cares about minorities and their causes. So every success that we’ve had – I didn’t want to work for ESPN, I wanted to work for this man.”
Needless to say, Skipper’s resignation has caught many by surprise and the news will continue to have legs for many days and weeks to come.