Longtime ESPN Vet Jay Crawford Says Talking Politics Was ‘Horrible for Business’

Jay Crawford
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Former ESPN host Jay Crawford is speaking out about the cable sports network’s descent into politics over sports, by noting how surprised he is that it took network owner Disney so long to correct the problem.

Crawford took to Twitter to say, “I ALWAYS avoided political commentary during my 15 yrs w/ ESPN. 2 things shocked me. 1) So many of my colleagues couldn’t help themselves from weighing in on political matters. 2) That it took so long for a brilliant company like Disney to figure out it was horrible for business.”

Crawford, who first joined the network in 2003, made his comment in reply to a Daily Caller piece revealing ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro’s efforts to eliminate the constant drumbeat of left-wing politics on the network.

“Without question, our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics. My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused,” Pitaro recently told the Los Angeles Times.

ESPN took Crawford off the air in 2017 during a round of cost-cutting layoffs, but is paying him through the end of his contract at the end of this year.

But the sportscaster is not the least bit unhappy about the separation. After he was laid off, Crawford told The Ringer that he did not intend to re-sign with the network in 2019 and wanted out.

“I don’t think anybody can argue ESPN is a better place in 2017 than it was in 2013,” Crawford said.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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