Long-running ESPN show Around The Horn has often given its “winner” 30 seconds or more in a “Face Time” segment to talk about anything they want to, which is usually something in sports or sports-related. When Pablo Torre won Friday, he used his time to talk about the ongoing uncertainty at Sports Illustrated following Friday’s news of mass layoffs there amidst owner Authentic Brands Group revoking publisher Arena Group’s license following a missed payment, which has left many questions on what’s ahead for the publication. Here’s what Torre (who worked at SI from 2007-2012 before joining ESPN) had to say on that:
Pablo Torre on SI: "What The Arena Group and The Authentic Brands Group have done…running it into the ground without any conscience, using fake writers and also laying off everybody today, is not just a nightmare, but also something that they should never get to forget." pic.twitter.com/nbrLlWw11y
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 19, 2024
“What is happening to Sports Illustrated, my former employer, a childhood artifact and icon to so many of us? I am filled with rage and depression. Because Sports Illustrated is not just the foremost journalism brand in the history of sports, it is also sports itself to so many of us.
“So what The Arena Group and The Authentic Brands Group have done, handed this organization and all of its history, great writing, iconic covers, photography, just the way that sports was chronicled in America, and running it into the ground without any conscience, using fake writers and also laying off everybody today, is not just a nightmare, but also something that they should never get to forget.
“Because you were handed this institution. And you failed. And that is your fault. Absolutely your fault.”
Torre is referencing first last fall’s AI scandal (previously bashed by ATH host Tony Reali), and then Friday’s news of Authentic ending their agreement for Arena to publish SI (although Authentic has said they plan to make sure SI “will not go dark.”) It’s far from clear what the future holds for SI, and that’s why we’re seeing so many tributes to the brand from staffers past and present and fans. But there is still potential for the brand under competent leadership. We’ll see where it goes from here. But it’s certainly notable to see Torre use his ATH winner’s spotlight to discuss this.