For more than three days, ESPN’s premier MLB insider Jeff Passan was oddly quiet on social media during a critical time in the sport’s history. WFAN’s Craig Carton believes Passan’s silence was a suspension handed down by ESPN.
On March 3, Passan joined the ESPN Daily podcast, where he blasted MLB owners’ final offer to players before commissioner Rob Manfred started to cancel regular-season games amid the league’s labor dispute.
“I looked at the offer the next morning,” Passan told ESPN Daily host Pablo Torre, “and I texted a few players, and I texted a few agents, and I said to all of them, ‘Are you really going to take this shit sandwich?’”
Reacting to Passan’s harsh categorization of baseball’s lockout negotiations, Carton questioned the MLB insider’s journalistic integrity. “It turns out that he is nothing more than a shill for the players, who hates the commissioner and by proxy all of the owners,” Carton ranted to his WFAN co-host Evan Roberts.
“I believe that ESPN has suspended him for that behavior,” Carton continued. “Which is why he barely tweeted at all for the last four or five days and merely had a couple retweets, one of which he deleted.”
After going dark on Twitter in the few days following his podcast appearance, Passan apologized in a statement Monday afternoon that was issued by ESPN to multiple media outlets.
“On a podcast recently, I took the phrasing of a source and mistakenly did not make clear they were his words, not mine,” said Passan. “ESPN and fans rightfully expect me to be objective, and my record shows I’m extremely committed to representing all sides of a story. In this instance, I fell short of that standard.”
Despite Carton’s belief that ESPN put their premier MLB insider on ice for a few days, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported there was no suspension or penalty for Passan. ESPN did, however, censor Torre’s podcast, and delete the audio of Passan calling the owners’ offer to players a “sh*t sandwich.”