Reports out of ESPN headquarters this morning say that "Baseball Tonight" analyst Steve Phillips is on a "leave of absence," after an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant turned into a special edition DVD release of Fatal Attraction. [Updates below.]
According to the New York Post's rather lengthy deconstruction of events, Phillips had a brief fling with a fellow ESPN employee named Brooke Hundley this summer. He ended it rather quickly, which did not go over very well. She allegedly began harassing Phillips, his wife and even his teenage son—who she friended on Facebook by pretending to be a classmate, and then grilled him for personal information about the family.
The final straw came when Phillips' wife arrived at her home to see a strange woman coming down her driveway and getting into a car (which she promptly smashed into a pole while trying to make a quick getaway.) The woman had left a very creepy letter in the front door, addressed to Phillips wife. The full original letter is available on the Post website [PDF], but here are some of the bullet points laid out by Hundley:
• She and Steve first slept together in a St. Louis hotel room, but he assured her that she wouldn't get pregnant because of his vasectomy.
• How and she Steve love to text back and forth with detailed plans on how they would like to sex each other
• An uncomfortable amount of detail about the activities of her children
• How the Catholic Church will totally understand if the Phillips got a divorce, so that she and Steve can be together
• She's 22 ... but not stupid!
• A graphic description of Steve's birthmarks (on his crotch and inner thigh), just to know she's legit.
In a written statement, Phillips confessed that he had three sexual encounters with Hundley and then broke it off in July. Almost immediately after that, the woman began making phone calls to his wife, leaving voicemails, sending inappropriate texts, and making even more inappropriate Facebook overtures to his son. He says he believes her to "obsessive and delusional" and police have become involved. Nevertheless, Phillips is suspended for at least one week and his wife has filed for divorce.
This is not the first time Phillips has run into this sort of trouble, nor is it the first incident involving the Baseball Tonight team. When he was GM of the Mets in the 1990s, Phillips had to take a leave of absence after an affair with a team employee. See also: Reynolds, Harold. There's a chance we won't see him on any ESPN network before this baseball season ends and then after that, who knows what will become of his tenure at the firm.
Expect a lot more on this before the day is over, obviously
Update: Get your questions in now for Phillips' 1:00 p.m. ESPN Chat! Suggested inquiry: "What were you thinking? Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick?!"
Update 3: Headline: "Steve Phillips Furthers His Idiocy." Sorry, that's actually not about the affair.
Update 4: ESPN, perhaps learning their lesson from the Ben Roethlsiberger incident, has released an official statement and linked to it from the front page of ESPN.com: "We were aware of this and took appropriate disciplinary action at the time. We have granted Steve's request for an extended leave of absence to allow him to address it. We have no further comment."
Update 5: TMZ has the 911 call from Phillips' wife after Hundley showed up at their house. Good times.