Over the past month, hundreds of NFL players have been taking a knee during the national anthem before their games to protest against Donald Trump and against racial inequality. Americans have responded by turning off their televisions rather than watch millionaire football players disrespect our flag, which has caused ratings to plummet.
Now, this has come back to bite the NFL in a huge way.
New reports have revealed that ESPN will be laying off 100 people after the Thanksgiving holiday. The positions at the network that are being targeted for layoffs are front facing talent on the television end of the business, executives, producers, as well as technology and digital staffers. On-air talent is also reportedly being considered for the cut because of how much ratings have plummeted as well as viewership.
Back in April, ESPN fired 100 journalist and on-air personalities.
“A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions,” the company said at the time.
Two sources said that one of the reasons ESPN is doing the layoffs in late November and early December is to get employees an additional year in the stock vesting program. Last month Michael McCarthy of Sporting News first noted a round of layoffs were coming to ESPN.
ESPN loses roughly 10,000 subscribers a month, even as it pays billions to sports leagues for broadcast rights. The NFL ratings drop has only exacerbated this, as this week’s “Monday Night Football” game, which featured a divisional rivalry game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, was the lowest-rated Week Nine “Monday Night Football” broadcast since 2007.
Many ESPN viewers were turned off when host Jemele Hill called President Donald Trump a white supremacist and got away with a mild rebuke, showing exactly where the network’s politics are.
ESPN Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/3kfexjx9zQ
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 12, 2017
“I felt that the old school viewers were put in a corner and not appreciated with all these other changes,” SportsCenter veteran Linda Cohn said in a radio interview. “And they forgot their core. You can never forget your core, and be grateful for your core group.”
This comes after ESPN reported that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has just threatened to sue the NFL if a contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell is approved by the league’s compensation committee. Jones reportedly wants Goodell out because of the way he has handled, or not handled, the anthem protests.
Jerry Jones threatens to sue NFL if Roger Goodell doesn’t take action on national anthem protests pic.twitter.com/f0nb9X82RM
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) November 9, 2017
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