Jackie MacMullan announced her retirement from ESPN last week, marking the end of a lengthy and storied run.
This week she made an appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast during which she elaborated on why she felt it was time. There was a bit of understandable burnout; MacMullan, after all, has been working in media for nearly forty years.
“You have to be really all-in on this job…if you’re going to do it properly, you have to be all-in.
I was having a hard time doing that. I was having a hard time generating the enthusiasm. “
More interestingly, though, MacMullan noted that she felt it was time for a new generation of women at ESPN to have more opportunities, pointing out that for a long time she was the only woman to appear on ESPN’s stalwart daily panel show.
“Around the Horn has been my family for the eighteen-something years, but how many more times do I need to be on Around the Horn? We’ve got all these great young women, new voices on that show. I was the only woman on that show for a really long time, for way too long in my opinion.
Now we have all these great young female voices: Mina Kimes, Monica McNutt, Sarah Spain, my girl Ramona [Shelburne] who breaks news all over, I’m gonna leave people out…Emily Kaplan, she’s just a star…Elle Duncan is another one. And it’s just their turn. It’s their turn.”
MacMullan deserves a lot of credit for paving the way on Around the Horn; that show was one of the first at ESPN to really embrace gender balance, even if it did take too long to get there. Hopefully her departure really does allow for ESPN’s talented roster of women to get even more exposure in her place.