Back in June 2013, ESPN laid off long-time researcher/Stump The Schwab personality Howie Schwab. It was part of a wave of layoffs of hundreds of people, something The Worldwide Leader has continued to feel nearly a decade later. And to this day, Schwab remains outspoken as ESPN continues to receive bad press for recent layoffs.
At the time, Schwab posted on Facebook that he was “extremely disappointed to say farewell” after 26 years at the network, and that “the only thing that mattered was my salary.” Over the years, Schwab has been more outspoken about the company that let him go. Back in 2018, he referred to ESPN as the “four-letter network” and showed a bit of resentment as he insisted that it had changed for the worse, not the better.
Schwab, who is still active on Twitter these days, is no longer a fixture in the sports media landscape. Still, he remains outspoken when it comes to ESPN and recently talked to Front Office Sports about the network’s curious business moves while Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, and Stephen A. Smith are making eight-figure salaries.
According to Front Office Sports, Schwab still keeps in contact with old colleagues, who have bemoaned about the timing of ESPN’s deal with Pat McAfee. The network has elected to make a move for The Pat McAfee Show and give him an eight-figure salary at the same time that they’re implementing cost-cutting measures elsewhere.
“They’re are some people who are upset. The timing of it is curious. They’re paying Aikman, Buck, Stephen A. Smith, and McAfee. And then you’re going to lay people off? Kind of weird,” Schwab said. “Nothing against Pat McAfee. Obviously, he brings Aaron Rodgers to the table. He’s already there because he does College GameDay. They’re looking to hit another home run. Meanwhile, their singles hitters are going to be fired.”
Schwab was once a singles hitter, but his impact on the network was so much more. And he’s right, ESPN is looking to hit a home run with McAfee and will reportedly cancel Max Kellerman’s This Just In weekly afternoon show, as the network anticipates that a bump in ratings will make McAfee’s massive contract pay off.
Ultimately, it will be people like Schwab who lose their jobs to justify ESPN’s deal with McAfee and significant contract figures for the network’s top talent.