Entertainment Weekly has some new snippets from Miller and Shales' forthcoming ESPN book, Those Guys Have All The Fun. Publisher Little, Brown lifted its embargo on writing about the book earlier today.
Perhaps the most damning quote in the early review comes from former ESPN general counsel Andy Brilliant: "The company would have Christmas parties up at some horrible place in Bristol. A couple of them were drunken orgies…. It became like a big frat party. There were a lot of drugs being done in the bathroom. There was quite a bit of screwing going on afterward, a lot of it extramarital. But everybody went back to business the next workday."
Funny enough, ESPN's John Skipper said today, "I can tell you categorically, we do not have a frat-boy culture. We do not condone that kind of activity. In fact, we have taken lots and lots of steps to create policies. We are fairly stringent when people do things. We suspend people. We fire people. It is clear to everybody who works for us we are not going to tolerate it. But it is just human nature and human behavior."
• "There was screwing in the hallways," says onetime reporter Sal Marchiano of ESPN's early days. "Okay, maybe not in the hallways, but there were a couple of stairwell stories…. There were drugs in the building, that I knew. There was one guy who dealt pot."
• At one point in the '80s ESPN kept an apartment in New York City. "I remember [an ESPN exec] coming in and saying, ‘We gotta get rid of this apartment…because the mail boys got a couple of our secretaries hooking over there,'" says former ESPN CEO Bill Grimes. "Hooking! That's what he said…. ‘They're making money after work when no one's there. It's getting out of control.'"
• Keith Olbermann is hardly the network's only cranky anchor. "I was introduced to [Chris Berman], and my title was mentioned," recalls marketing senior VP Lee Ann Daly. "He was like, ‘Oh, goddammit, do we need another vice president?' And I just said, ‘Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Berman.' ….there was really no need to be a jerk. But that kind of stuck with me. I noticed that Chris Berman was rarely happy. He was always very difficult to please."
Richard Deitsch tweets that "ESPN PR just went to DEFCON 1." Buckle up.