Jay Williams was back on ESPN Radio this week. There, he took some time to address his now former co-hosts being laid off by the company.
Last month, it was announced that ESPN Radio was phasing out its morning show featuring Williams, Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman. One week later, Johnson and Kellerman were part of ESPN’s latest round of layoffs, which featured a surprising number of prominent and long-time on-air talents. On Wednesday, Williams co-hosted ESPN Radio’s morning show with Freddie Coleman, and he opened the show with some words for his former colleagues.
— ESPN Radio (@ESPNRadio) July 5, 2023
“We’ve all gone through things where friends have lost jobs. It stinks,” Williams said. “It sucks. We give a lot of sports analogies here, Freddie, and it’s like sometimes the only way I know how to handle things is to play through. Things happen, we’re going to deal with it.”
The ESPN Radio morning show launched as Keyshawn, J-Will, and Zubin in Aug. 2020, with Zubin Mehenti as the quarterback. At the time, Johnson was the only one with a background in radio, having previously hosted a local show on ESPN Los Angeles. After a few months, Mehenti left the show for health reasons and was eventually replaced by Kellerman, who was dropped from Stephen A. Smith’s First Take.
“Key has been my boy since the first day that I met him two and a half, three years ago,” Williams said. “I fell in love with a guy who is just unapologetically him all the time.”
“Max and I still laugh about a lot of random things and Max is my boy. I’m gonna miss his Jon B. lookalike self,” Williams joked, chiding Kellerman for his days as a rapper in the early ‘90s. “My vocabulary is off the charts because of Uncle Max. I mean, Max has taught me so many different words.”
ESPN has not announced plans for a new morning radio show or whether Williams will be part of it going forward. While Kellerman and Johnson are already out at ESPN, Williams’ future with the Worldwide Leader is murky at best. Last month, during an appearance on Pat Beverley’s Barstool Sports podcast, Williams discussed how the current media game “gets boring” and revealed his contract with ESPN was set to expire later this summer.
“I just want to give a shout out to those two,” Williams added of his now former ESPN Radio co-hosts. Those two have been my boys, they still are my boys… have got nothing but love for Key and Max.”