With all this business about Jim Rome leaving ESPN today, we figured we should check in with Jim Everett, the Rams, Saints, and Chargers quarterback whom Rome repeatedly called "Chris" on ESPN2 in 1994. Everett charged Rome. The video endures on YouTube. Everett is now a financial professional in California.
"I don't watch him anyway, so I don't care," Everett tells me over the phone. "He's got a certain style. It's not respectful to people who go out and try their best." He says ESPN wanted Rome so they could score points with a young, rebellious audience—the intended audience for ESPN2, where Rome's show aired—and they did just that. "They wanted to make a quick buck, too." Rome will criticize everyone, Everett says. "He'll dog Gordie Howe if he has to."
About that appearance on ESPN2's Talk2: Everett says he didn't know Rome would be the one hosting. He had expected to sit down with Roy Firestone, a longtime ESPN interviewer. "I just listened to my agent," he says. "I didn't have any real marketing savvy."
But Everett is fairly sanguine about the whole thing now: "It's funny, I threw over 200 touchdown passes and I'm remembered more for an incident with a teeny, tiny reporter."
He's certainly more willing to embrace the episode than Rome is. Everett says "a large burger franchise" wanted to use the video in an ad a few years back. He says they offered him a nice chunk of money, though nothing like the reported $30 million Rome makes for his radio show. Everett said yes, but Rome said no, and blocked the deal.
"I don't know if he wants to be in denial about this," Everett says, "or if he just wants to move on."