Domonique Foxworth on The Dan Le Batard Show.

A ton of ex-ESPN people have headed off to Meadowlark Media, the company founded by Dan Le Batard and John Skipper. Some have even gone to Meadowlark while retaining some level of ESPN role, such as Pablo Torre this week. But one who has not made that jump is Domonique Foxworth. And he revealed on The Dan Le Batard Show Thursday that he was asked to, but as chief operating officer. And he had quite the reason for turning that down, as relayed starting around 13:38 in the clip below:

“Domonique, I wanted him so badly, so very badly to be, I don’t want to handle money. I don’t want to have anything to do with the money and the business of Meadowlark Media,” Le Batard says. “I hate it. And I wanted Domonique to be our COO. And he told me that he would not be. And why did you tell me you would not be? Because I thought we had a real chance to hire you.”

“Um, because, you are friends and family with the people that I was gonna fire,” Foxworth says. “It’s plain and simple.”

Le Batard says “He is being gentle. He told me the reason he wouldn’t take the job is that I’m not going to fire people.”

Foxworth laughs and says “It’s not that it’s specific people. But it’s like you’re trying to run a business or you’re trying to have a family. And I made this joke earlier, you either die a hero or live long enough to sit in meetings. And I walk in this morning, and I see you guys, and you’re sitting in meetings. And that’s what I recognized: if you’re inside the ESPN machine, you guys can be these rebels, and I can come in here, and it can be fun, and joke around, use a key card sometimes, bounce around, and have a good time.”

“But once you are separated, you have to become the establishment a little bit. And my thought was ‘You know what’s not going to go well for me? Trying to turn this group of rebels into some sort of organized structure without the ability to have actual repercussions. Obviously, I don’t want to fire people, you want to train someone, you want them to get better. But the point was it has to exist as a possibility.”

“And I know, from you, that does not exist, at least at that point, that does not exist as a possibility, because you have a utopian view of some of these things. And as much as I, I’m a normal person, so I hate David Samson as much as the next guy, but every now and then, he says some things that are true. Sometimes parts of business are uncomfortable. You hate to hear it, but it’s true.”

That’s quite the discussion from Foxworth. And he certainly has a background that would make him fit for a COO role. While still playing in the NFL, he became the youngest vice president of the NFLPA executive committee in history, then was elected as NFLPA president in 2012. He then earned a Harvard MBA, and then worked as COO of the NBA union, the NBPA, before pivoting into a writing and commentary career with ESPN. So he absolutely could have handled an executive role at Meadowlark. But it also makes sense that he doesn’t want to come in and try to “turn this group of rebels into some sort of organized structure without the ability to have actual repercussions,” especially with his long friendships (and Le Batard’s own friendships) with many of that group.

[Barrett Sports Media, The Dan Le Batard Show on YouTube]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.