On September 9, we received a tip. Subject: "S. Phillips." The contents? "Rumor winding it's way around the hallowed halls of the WWL is that Steve Phillips is getting canned tomorrow for an offense on par with Harold Reynold's misdeed."
After a call to ESPN public relations department asking about the "rumor" I was told that "I would be wrong" to print that story because it was inaccurate. Fine. I would have been. But natural follow-up question to these types of rumors, as per give-and-take protocol, is well, what's the real story then? Was there an incident with Phillips that Baseball Tonight people are concerned about? However I was summarily nothing-to-see-here-please-dispersed.
Obviously, there was. The other interesting thing about this scenario is that Baseball Tonight producers and talent were so rattled by the Harold Reynolds incident that I'm sure they are completely dumbfounded by Phillips' behavior. Or, at least, the rumor was at the time is that Phillips was toxic and everyone wanted him to go so they don't relive the messy HR situation all over again. Alas.
However, there are many, many, many other people employed at the WWL who have (allegedly) boned assistants, interns, on-air talent, executives, etc. However, it's a little unclear as to what lines need to be crossed in order for them to be suspended.
And since the tenuous connection between rumor and fact for accuracy's sake has been a little eroded here, well, it's probably about time to just unload the inbox of all the sordid rumors we've received over the years about various ESPN employees. Chances are, at this point, there's some truth to them. We'll just throw 'em out there and see how many "no comments" or, you know, actual comments or "you would be completely wrongs" there are about these situations. Consider this one giant all-day version of "Deleted Scenes" or something.
Coming up first...ESPN "personality" Erik Kuselias.
So, Bristolites, strap in — it's gonna be a long day.