Jemele Hill Should Be Fired From ESPN.

People tune into ESPN to listen to sports not Politics. For Jemele Hill to call President Trump a white supremacist is both unfounded and un called for. Where does a sports announcer get off making a statement like that? Since when does a sports network feel the need to make a statement like that? More to the question, how is she still working there? You can’t just make statements like that without consequences and why is she interviewing Sean Combs? Combs, I don’t think, was ever an athlete, he’s soft and I highly doubt he ever played organized sports. He looks like someone you would run off of any play yard that there ever was. Is Hill a groupy? Someone who wants to be close to singers and actors? I cannot understand why she would not just interview athletes on an athletic channel.

Hill should get the memo; it is a sports channel and with record low viewership, ESPN should take the Que that no one but no one cares about there political views. Trump has over 50% approval rating and Hill should figure that half her viewers who create pay days for her, do not care to listen to this. More to the point that many were offended by her comment on the president. If a person wants to hear politics they will tune into FOX or CNN, not ESPN. Hill by the way is a hack, I do not know how she is on a local channel let alone ESPN. She is not overly insightful by way of sports, she often cuts people off when she disagrees with the people she is interviewing, often ill prepared and always ignorant to non like minded views.

ESPN should talk sports and only sports. If you want to bring up the NFL’s new rule about the National Anthem that is one thing but don’t go off on some liberal diatribe about how the NFL and the president is trying to stifle freedom of expression. It’s the fans stupid, and if the fans don’t show up, you got nothing. Even so, it should just be reported, not for ESPN to bring in political activist right out of the 60’s to go off on there rights, again sports show nothing more. If ESPN doesn’t wake up they will be off the air in short time, numbers are at an all time low, they focus more on basketball then any other sport, they give the least coverage to ice hockey,(guess it’s to white for them) and little to baseball or NASCAR. They almost go out of there way to give extra props to black players and less to all other races.

READ BELOW.

Former SportsCenter hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill chatted with music entrepreneur Sean Combs during the NBA finals last June. Bruce Yeung/NBAE/Getty Images

How a Weakened ESPN Became Consumed by Politics

Arguments over tweets, tension with owner Disney increased anxiety over the network’s future in era of cord-cutting

Former SportsCenter hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill chatted with music entrepreneur Sean Combs during the NBA finals last June. Bruce Yeung/NBAE/Getty Images

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    Former SportsCenter hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill chatted with music entrepreneur Sean Combs during the NBA finals last June.
    Former SportsCenter hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill chatted with music entrepreneur Sean Combs during the NBA finals last June. Photo: Bruce Yeung/NBAE/Getty Images

    John Skipper was furious.

    One of his star anchors, Jemele Hill, had sent a tweet calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” Mr. Trump’s supporters called for her to be fired. Prominent black athletes defended the anchor, who is African-American.

    Sitting in his office last September, Mr. Skipper, then ESPN’s president, lit into Ms. Hill, according to people familiar with the meeting. If I punish you, he told her, I’d open us up to protests and come off as racist. If I do nothing, that will fuel a narrative among conservatives—and a faction within ESPN—that the network had become too liberal.

    Mr. Skipper chose to spare Ms. Hill. Mr. Trump weighed in on Twitter : “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers.”

    The president’s tweet was hyperbolic, but it tapped into real anxiety at ESPN. What was the way forward for a company shaken to its foundations by the cord-cutting revolution?

    Tuning Out

    ESPN is losing subscribers, hurting its profit and the profit of its majority owner, Disney. But ESPN has increased its average fees per subscriber.

    ESPN operating profit

    Cumulative change in ESPN subscribers since the beginning of 2011

     million subscribers

    2

     billion

    $5

    0

    4

    –2

    –4

    3

    –6

    –8

    2

    –10

    –12

    1

    –14

    –16

    0

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    2011

    ’15

    ’18*

    ’12

    ’16

    ’13

    ’14

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    ’18

    2011

    ’17

    Change in Disney’s cable† operating profit from a year earlier

    Fees per monthly cable bill

    %

    20

    $10

    ESPN2

    15

    ESPN

    8

    10

    6

    5

    4

    0

    2

    –5

    0

    –10

    ’17

    ’18

    2011

    ’12

    ’13

    ’14

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    ’16

    ’15

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    2011

    2Q

    1Q ’18

    ESPN operating profit

    Cumulative change in ESPN subscribers since the beginning of 2011

     billion

    2

     million subscribers

    $5

    0

    4

    –2

    –4

    3

    –6

    –8

    2

    –10

    –12

    1

    –14

    –16

    0

    ’13

    ’12

    ’14

    ’15

    ’18*

    ’17

    ’16

    ’15

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    2011

    ’16

    ’17

    2011

    Change in Disney’s cable† operating profit from a year earlier

    Fees per monthly cable bill

    $10

    %

    20

    ESPN2

    15

    ESPN

    8

    10

    6

    5

    4

    0

    2

    –5

    0

    –10

    ’15

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    ’17

    ’18

    ’16

    2011

    ’12

    ’13

    ’14

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    1Q

    ’18

    2011

    2Q

    ESPN operating profit

    Cumulative change in ESPN subscribers since the beginning of 2011

     million subscribers

    2

    $5

     billion

    0

    4

    –2

    –4

    3

    –6

    –8

    2

    –10

    –12

    1

    –14

    0

    –16

    ’12

    ’13

    ’14

    ’18*

    2011

    ’18

    ’17

    ’16

    ’15

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    ’17

    ’16

    2011

    ’15

    Change in Disney’s cable† operating profit from a year earlier

    Fees per monthly cable bill

    %

    $10

    20

    ESPN2

    15

    ESPN

    8

    10

    6

    5

    4

    0

    2

    –5

    0

    –10

    ’16

    ’17

    2011

    ’12

    ’13

    ’18

    2Q

    1Q ’18

    ’17

    ’14

    ’16

    ’15

    ’14

    ’13

    ’12

    ’15

    2011

    Cumulative change in ESPN subscribers since the beginning of 2011

    2

     million subscribers

    0

    –2

    –4

    –6

    –8

    –10

    –12

    –14

    –16

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    ’18

    2011

    ’13

    ’12

    ’14

    ESPN operating profit

    $5

     billion

    4

    3

    2

    1

    0

    2011

    ’12

    ’13

    ’14

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    ’18*

    Change in Disney’s cable† operating profit from a year earlier

    %

    20

    15

    10

    5

    0

    –5

    –10

    ’12

    ’13

    ’14

    ’15

    ’16

    ’17

    1Q ’18

    2Q

    2011

    Fees per monthly cable bill

    $10

    ESPN2

    ESPN

    8

    6

    4

    2

    0

    2011

    ’16

    ’17

    ’18

    ’13

    ’14

    ’12

    ’15

    *projection   †includes ESPN channels, Disney, Disney Junior, Freeform and others

    Sources: Nielsen (subscribers); Morgan Stanley estimates (ESPN operating income); company filings (Disney operating income); Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence (bill)

    Executives at the sports-media giant wanted to seek out new audiences by spicing up shows with opinionated analysis and debate, including on SportsCenter, its struggling news and highlights franchise.

    But the amount and intensity of political expression generated sharp internal disagreements over whether ESPN was appropriately taking part in the broader national conversation, or whether top executives were encouraging a divisive company culture and giving too much leeway to hosts to promote left-leaning views, both on air and on social media.

    Well before Ms. Hill’s tweet controversy, network icon Bob Ley had approached Mr. Skipper to say “there was a problem with balance internally,” people familiar with the matter said. Reached for comment, Mr. Ley said Mr. Skipper “was always extremely receptive.”

    Former ESPN President John Skipper, left, in 2014 after announcing a deal to broadcast NBA games.
    Former ESPN President John Skipper, left, in 2014 after announcing a deal to broadcast NBA games. Photo: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    Linda Cohn, one of ESPN’s most prominent female anchors, in April 2017 gave a radio interview opining that ESPN’s politics were pushing away viewers and the network had overpaid for NBA rights. Mr. Skipper called to berate her on both counts, people familiar with the call said.

    Why ESPN found itself torn up by the nation’s partisan politics traces back to its fundamental business challenge. Its status as cable TV’s most expensive channel had become a liability. As consumers grew fed up with their monthly cable prices, big cable distributors began offering discounted packages that didn’t include the network. Many consumers opted for those offers, while others cut the cord entirely, leading ESPN to shed 16 million subscribers over seven years.

    At the same time, costs have ballooned, especially for vital live sports rights. Average annual payments tied to ESPN’s four biggest, long-term rights deals have more than doubled since 2013 to $4.7 billion. After years of growth, ESPN’s profit declined in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017, people familiar with its finances said. Declines have continued for the two ensuing quarters. ESPN has laid off some 600 employees over the past several years, including well-known hosts, though it has hired in areas such as technology and data.

    ESPN’s relationship with majority-owner Walt Disney Co. DIS 0.82% grew tense as the once reliable profit engine turned into a public headache, people close to the situation said. A recent management shake-up gave Disney a chance to exert more control. Mr. Skipper departed suddenly in December, citing a substance-abuse issue. He later said someone from whom he bought cocaine had tried to extort him.

    Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger installed as his replacement James Pitaro, Disney’s former consumer products and digital chief. Mr. Pitaro has promised to expand ESPN’s audience by targeting younger and casual fans, including with a new streaming service launched last month. He believes ESPN leaned too much into politics and that has influenced how the company was perceived, a person close to ESPN said. He has encouraged its programs to return to news and highlights and move away from opinionated commentary.

    Disney CEO Bob Iger, left, greeted Houston Rockets player Tarik Black at a basketball game in Los Angeles in January.
    Disney CEO Bob Iger, left, greeted Houston Rockets player Tarik Black at a basketball game in Los Angeles in January. Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

    Mr. Pitaro has said that despite the political debates roiling the network last year, total day ratings were up 1% in 2017 from the previous year, in a largely bleak cable-TV landscape.

    ESPN has struck new deals with some cable companies ensuring it gets a share of the monthly bills paid by at least 85% of their subscribers, regardless of how many sign up for packages that include ESPN, people familiar with the terms said. And it has added back 2.4 million subscribers thanks to growth in the past few years from new streaming cable TV services such as Hulu and Sling TV.

    An ESPN spokesperson said the company’s momentum is strong.

    Several network employees said the company has turned a corner. “When you know that there are dark days coming, it wears on folks collectively,” said ESPN’s late-night SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, about morale in the past during rounds of layoffs. But more recently, under Mr. Pitaro, “there is a sense that those days are in the rearview,” he said.

    Spiraling Costs

    Average annual licensing fees for ESPN’s big sports-rights deals have jumped.

    New deal

    Previous deal

    NFL

    8-year deal took effect in 2014

    $2 billion

    $0

    +82%

    NBA

    9 years, 2016

    +203%

    8 years, 2014

    MLB

    +100%

    12 years, 2014

    College football playoff

    +317%

    20 years, 2016

    Atlantic Coast Conference

    +55%

    25 years, 2009

    Southeastern Conference*

    +52%

    Pac-12 Conference

    12 years, 2012

    +400%

    U.S. Open†

    11 years, 2015

    +275%

    MLS

    8 years, 2015

    +375%

    Note: Deal terms may vary from year to year.   *Doesn’t include price of deal for SEC Network in 2014   †Previous deal included half the package.

    Sources: People familiar with the deals; Sports Business Journal estimates (ACC, SEC)

    Others are jaded after budget cuts and job losses, according to interviews with current and former staffers. “I think the morale there is probably as bad as I’ve seen it in my 22-year tenure,” said Jeannine Edwards, a longtime on-air reporter who retired in December.

    Other workplace culture issues have surfaced. Some female staffers were aghast when the network launched a show last fall with Barstool Sports, even after some prominent hosts privately expressed concerns to executives that the outlet’s content was sexist and offensive, according to people familiar with the conversations. ESPN canceled the program after the outcry became public.

    More recently, a producer filed a human resources complaint that ESPN wasn’t doing enough to promote women and minorities in production, and the network has interviewed several people who work on SportsCenter, according to people familiar with the situation. ESPN declined to comment on the investigation.

    ‘Flat-earthers’

    Turmoil in the sports powerhouse’s business traces back to a spring day in 2014. Disney had invited about 100 analysts and investors to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., to hobnob with talent including tennis legend John McEnroe and show off ESPN’s new, $150-million-plus production facility.

    In an unusual move, Disney gave long-term financial guidance for its cable networks division, largely powered by ESPN. It was rosy. ESPN’s research department presented data arguing cord-cutting was unlikely to become widespread, according to attendees.

    “They were flat-earthers,” said one former ESPN executive.

    At the same time, ESPN was spending aggressively. The company agreed to triple the fees it would pay the NBA, which it believes is growing in popularity. On the talent side, Mr. Skipper closely managed negotiations, desiring to beat back rivals like Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports. Agents, former ESPN executives and hosts said that led him to overpay for several on-air personalities.

    By 2015, it became clear the research staff was off base, as ESPN’s subscriber losses accelerated beyond internal projections. That August, Mr. Iger lowered the company’s earlier financial guidance, causing a stock selloff that lopped more than $20 billion off Disney’s market value that week.

    Floyd Mayweather hits Manny Pacquiao during their boxing match in Las Vegas in May 2015.
    Floyd Mayweather hits Manny Pacquiao during their boxing match in Las Vegas in May 2015. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

    Mr. Iger expressed reservations to Mr. Skipper about ESPN’s programming. SportsCenter was flooding the airwaves with many editions and he said it wasn’t distinguishing itself, a person familiar with the conversation said.

    ESPN and Disney’s finance teams began to quarrel over budgets as the network was told to find cuts, people familiar with the matter said.

    ESPN shaved spending, including by producing games remotely without announcers on site, but changing the culture was challenging. In 2015 the network spent lavishly to beef up its “SportsCenter on the Road” segments, including by pouring over $2 million into programming surrounding the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match, well above initial projections internally, people familiar with the situation said.

    For some staffers that became a symbol of excess. Rob King, the executive in charge of SportsCenter at the time, appointed a senior producer to monitor budgets closely after the episode, the people said. A person close to ESPN disputed that spending on the fight overshot internal projections.

    Some current and former employees said bloated contracts for talent weighed the company down and led to layoffs. ESPN is still paying many hosts, including former NFL reporter Ed Werder, who were on multiyear contracts when they were laid off more than a year ago.

    Fewer Fans

    Viewers for ESPN programs, other than basketball, have been sliding.

    NBA regular season viewers

    Monday Night Football viewers

    SportsCenter (6 p.m. hour) viewers*

    Average daily ESPN viewers*

     million

    1.0

    15

     million

    2.5

     million

    2.5

     million

    12

    2.0

    2.0

    0.8

    Prime time

    1.5

    9

    1.5

    0.6

    1.0

    1.0

    0.4

    6

    All day

    0.5

    0.5

    0.2

    3

    0

    0

    0

    0

    ’15

    ’16

    2013

    2010

    2010

    ’12

    ’12

    ’14

    ’16

    ’14

    ’18

    ’14

    ’16

    ’12

    ’18

    ’17

    2010

    Average daily ESPN viewers*

    Monday Night Football viewers

    SportsCenter (6 p.m. hour) viewers*

    NBA regular season viewers

    2.5

    15

    2.5

     million

    1.0

     million

     million

     million

    2.0

    0.8

    12

    2.0

    Prime time

    1.5

    0.6

    1.5

    9

    6

    1.0

    0.4

    1.0

    All day

    0.2

    3

    0.5

    0.5

    0

    0

    0

    0

    ’15

    ’16

    ’14

    ’12

    2010

    ’16

    ’14

    ’12

    2010

    ’17

    2013

    ’18

    ’12

    2010

    ’16

    ’18

    ’14

    Monday Night Football viewers

    NBA regular season viewers

    SportsCenter (6 p.m. hour) viewers*

    Average daily ESPN viewers*

     million

    1.0

    2.5

     million

    15

     million

     million

    2.5

    12

    0.8

    2.0

    2.0

    Prime time

    9

    1.5

    0.6

    1.5

    0.4

    6

    1.0

    1.0

    All day

    0.5

    3

    0.2

    0.5

    0

    0

    0

    0

    2010

    ’18

    2010

    ’12

    ’12

    ’14

    ’16

    ’14

    ’12

    2010

    ’16

    ’16

    ’17

    ’14

    ’15

    2013

    ’18

    SportsCenter (6 p.m. hour) viewers*

    Average daily ESPN viewers*

     million

    1.0

     million

    2.5

    2.0

    0.8

    Prime time

    0.6

    1.5

    1.0

    0.4

    All day

    0.2

    0.5

    0

    0

    ’15

    ’17

    2010

    ’12

    ’14

    ’16

    ’18

    2013

    NBA regular season viewers

    Monday Night Football viewers

    15

     million

     million

    2.5

    2.0

    12

    1.5

    9

    6

    1.0

    0.5

    3

    0

    0

    ’12

    ’16

    ’16

    ’14

    ’14

    2010

    ’12

    2010

    ’18

    *Through May 6

    Sources: Nielsen; Nielsen data provided by ESPN

    A new morning talk show that launched last month, “Get Up,” costs far more than its predecessor, a SportsCenter morning edition, and is underperforming it in ratings. Payments to the show’s talent total some $15 million a year, with co-host Mike Greenberg making $6.5 million, people familiar with the costs said. Midlevel SportsCenter hosts tend to earn less than $500,000, one agent said, with better-known ones making up to $1 million and stars landing multimillion-dollar deals.

    Mr. Pitaro told reporters in May that ESPN is monitoring the show daily, “trying to identify what’s working and what’s not.” He said the show’s ratings are up since its launch.

    #BoycottESPN

    There is broad agreement within ESPN that covering sports news means sometimes tackling hot topics like politics and race. The internal debate centered on the tonnage of such coverage, conduct on social media and whether ESPN as a company should take political stances.

    Mr. Skipper sought to promote progressive social values, but often his moves came off as overtly political, staffers said. Under Mr. Skipper, ESPN awarded a prestigious “ESPY” award for courage to Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete drafted into the NFL, and another to Caitlyn Jenner for coming out as a transgender woman.

    ESPN awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2015 to Caitlyn Jenner, right, shown with professional soccer player Abby Wambach.
    ESPN awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2015 to Caitlyn Jenner, right, shown with professional soccer player Abby Wambach. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    When Mr. Trump disparaged Mexican immigrants during his candidacy, ESPN shifted a charity golf tournament from Trump National Golf Club to a different venue, a move ESPN’s public editor at the time said seemed “political.”

    Conservative ESPN staffers grew frustrated by increased political commentary, including from ESPN executives during the presidential election, and worried about #BoycottESPN hashtags cropping up on Twitter. “Our viewers turned to us for sports,” said Jay Crawford, a longtime SportsCenter host who was laid off a year ago. “Realizing there’s never been a time in my lifetime where our country has been more divided, I saw no value in adding to that division.”

    Mark Shapiro, who helped pioneer debate shows at ESPN and is now co-president of media conglomerate WME-IMG, said, “there was too much emphasis on talking heads and fiery opinions and less on breaking news and analysis.”

    Tensions boiled over with the controversy over Ms. Hill in September. At their meeting, Mr. Skipper asked pointedly if Ms. Hill thought it fair to paint colleagues who voted for Donald Trump with a broad brush as white supremacists.

    “No, but I do think that they have the benefit of privilege,” Ms. Hill responded.

    Several ESPN employees later told Mr. Skipper that Ms. Hill should have been suspended for her Trump tweet because she violated the company’s social-media policy.

    “To me it was clear-cut that these are areas to stay away from regarding racial topics, religion, sex orientation, politics,” said Tim Legler, an ESPN basketball analyst and 17-year company veteran.

    Weeks later, Mr. Skipper suspended Ms. Hill when she used Twitter to urge a boycott of Dallas Cowboys advertisers after the team’s owner had suggested benching NFL players who staged social-justice protests during the national anthem. ESPN determined that was detrimental to the company, as ESPN shared some sponsors with the Cowboys, people familiar with the situation said. In February, Ms. Hill left SportsCenter to write for ESPN’s “The Undefeated” website.

    San Francisco 49ers players Eli Harold, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem at an NFL game in 2016. People in Tampa protested players kneeling during the anthem last year.Photos: Associated Press(2)

    Ms. Hill’s supporters said critics often conflated “politics” with hearing diverse viewpoints from women and people of color that Mr. Skipper promoted on air. “More minorities at ESPN with strong voices” has “evidently made some people bothered,” said on-air host Dan Le Batard on his show a year ago.

    On Wednesday, the NFL said it would require players to stand during the national anthem and would fine teams if they don’t comply. The decision was debated on ESPN shows like “First Take” and “SportsCenter,” including with references to President Trump’s distaste for such protests. Ms. Hill tweeted, “Me, trying to find any NFL owners with common sense.

    Tensions with Disney

    Mr. Skipper’s messy exit in December rattled employees.

    Though publicly Mr. Skipper seemed to have good relations with Disney’s top brass, tensions had built up over time. Early in his tenure—he took the top ESPN job in 2012—Mr. Skipper had missed a corporate plane ride with Disney’s Mr. Iger after a night of partying following the ESPY Awards, people familiar with the incident said. Mr. Iger wasn’t happy about being kept waiting. Disney later investigated to find out about Mr. Skipper’s comings and goings that night, including looking at his company phone records, the people said.

    A few years later, Mr. Iger was frustrated when Mr. Skipper made comments in a Wall Street Journal article that seemingly contradicted his explanation for why ESPN was losing subscribers, people familiar with the situation said. Zenia Mucha, Disney’s chief communications officer, called Mr. Skipper and said ESPN should be restrained in its public statements at a time of rapid industry change—a stern message that ESPN executives including Mr. Skipper took as an effective gag order, some of the people said.

    Mr. Iger later said to stock analysts on an earnings call he was misled by faulty data, and he agreed with Mr. Skipper’s explanation. Privately, Disney executives were upset that Mr. Skipper himself hadn’t reconciled the two explanations, one person familiar with Disney’s thinking said.

    On the other side, Mr. Skipper was unsettled by rumors, including as recently as 2017, that Disney was considering spinning off its stake in ESPN. Mr. Skipper asked Mr. Iger if the rumors were true. Mr. Iger said they weren’t, a person familiar with the conversations said. Disney’s finance team studied the topic in recent years, though Disney’s board never seriously considered a spinoff, another person familiar with the matter said.

    New ESPN President James Pitaro promised to expand ESPN’s audience by targeting younger and casual fans.
    New ESPN President James Pitaro promised to expand ESPN’s audience by targeting younger and casual fans. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    In March, Mr. Iger tapped Mr. Pitaro as ESPN’s new boss. Mr. Skipper had earlier resisted bringing in Mr. Pitaro as his No. 2, preferring to promote from inside ESPN, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Mr. Pitaro’s first major task is to build a streaming TV business. Years of delays and detours in this area frustrated Mr. Iger, who wanted the network to move faster, people close to the situation said. A streaming venture with the NBA was derailed because ESPN couldn’t settle on an approach, with some executives worrying about cannibalizing traditional TV revenue by courting cord-cutters.

    Last August, Disney sped up its efforts, buying a controlling stake in Major League Baseball’s streaming arm Bamtech. The fruit of that deal is ESPN+. For $4.99 a month it offers live games and exclusive shows that don’t appear on ESPN’s TV networks.

    ESPN is scouting competitive videogaming for the streaming service and on Wednesday signed a five-year, $1.5 billion deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship that will allow it to stream exclusive fights.

    “They have some enormous challenges but they have by far the best brand in sports,” said WME-IMG’s Mr. Shapiro, whose company owns UFC.

    Write to Shalini Ramachandran at shalini.ramachandran@wsj.com

    Appeared in the May 25, 2018, print edition as ‘Adding to ESPN’s Struggles: Politics.’

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