A cocaine extortion scandal apparently led to the abrupt departure of previous ESPN President John Skipper, according to a shocking new report.
An interview by Hollywood Reporter revealed that Skipper was forced out as the cable sports network after someone he bought cocaine from, tried to blackmail him.
Skipper’s resignation came as a surprise to the sports world, but according to comments by the disgraced cable chief, he was proactive in stepping aside.
“They threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well,” Skipper said. “I foreclosed that possibility by disclosing the details to my family, and then when I discussed it with (Disney CEO) Bob [Iger], he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.”
Skipper also claimed that he has a drug habit of long standing but thought he always acred discreetly about it in the past. The blackmail threat arose because he went outside his normal supplier and dealt with someone he didn’t know, he insisted.
Skipper said he immediately went to Disney, ESPN’s owner, and told them what was going on, and it wasn’t long before he was ousted as the sports network’s president.
“I simply just disclosed the facts, and it became clear in my conversation with [Disney CEO] Bob [Iger] what I needed to do. Everything happened very quickly,” he said.
Skipper denied ever doing cocaine while at work and exclaimed that he never did anything to compromise the network in this situation nor with any of his past drug abuse.
The disgraced cable chief told the Reporter that he hoped that the stigma would eventually fade and he could “get back in and do some things that matter.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.