There’s been a lot of discussion around TheMaven’s operation of Sports Illustrated recently, from lawsuits over unpaid transition fees to handling of problematic hires to telling employees they should create burner accounts to spark “community” conversations. The latest issue there has seen several publishers and writers from team sites tweeting this week that they’ve been laid off thanks to COVID-19 pandemic issues, with that coming months after Maven announced six percent layoffs at SI in March (in addition to previous layoffs conducted under prior owner Meredith last October, reportedly at Maven’s behest). Here are some of those tweets, starting with Colorado Buffaloes publisher/writer Chase Howell:
Personal news…. I’ve been laid off by Sports Illustrated due to unfortunate circumstances. The last six months have been an incredible learning experience. I was lucky to be around some very talented people and had a great team @vinaysimlot534 @FantasticMrFOUX @QuinnJamieson
— Chase Howell (@chasehowell__) August 20, 2020
Here’s Virginia Tech publisher/writer Mike McDaniel:
I was laid off by Sports Illustrated tonight due to COVID-related cuts.
Want to thank @SInow for the opportunity and want to send my sincere thanks to my awesome team. @BestCates @AndrewAlixRadio @RickyLaBlue @BryanDManning @ryanhartman44 @HereGoJayAgain and @Severus_Snipes
— Mike McDaniel (@MikeMcDanielSI) August 20, 2020
And here’s Georgia Tech reporter Ashley Barnett:
Some personal news. I, as well as many others, have been laid off by Sports Illustrated due to COVID-related cuts.
Thank you @SInow for the opportunity. Georgia Tech will always have a special place in my heart (as an SEC girl, never thought I’d say that ?)
— Ashley Barnett (@AshBarnett_) August 20, 2020
Update: Howard Megdal, who ran the SI/Maven Knicks site, also tweeted about his departure. He didn’t mention that it was ascribed to COVID-19, though:
Good morning: my time @KnicksSI has come to an end. Love the group I developed there – @JCMacriNBA, @itslaurenruss, @thealexwolfe, @chrismol44, @krispursiainen, @_Verts and @ClassicJpow – and all the fun we had writing about the #Knicks. We'll all see you plenty of other places.
— Howard Megdal (@howardmegdal) August 21, 2020
It’s definitely notable to see Maven making further cuts at their team sites. And it’s interesting that several of these are at ACC schools, with that conference currently still planning to play football this fall. And it’s also notable that this happened at the same time one of Maven’s writers announced they were launching a Syracuse (also ACC) site:
To my 'Cuse followers, you knew we were gonna launch an SU site sooner or later here at SI.
— John Garcia, Jr. (@JohnGarcia_Jr) August 20, 2020
Garcia Jr. had previously been at SI/Maven as their “director of football recruiting” and a key contributor to their SI All-American football site, so that announcement doesn’t indicate that they’re bringing on someone new as they cut others; it seems to be more a redistribution of his responsibilities. But it is interesting to see SI launching another college site at a point where they seem to be going away from some they already had. And it certainly seems notable to see Maven making further cuts right now and chalking those up to COVID-19.