We are less than five years removed from the massive layoffs that claimed the jobs of people on camera and behind the scenes at ESPN. One of those people was college football analyst and co-host of Russillo and Kanell, Danny Kanell.
Kanell was on The Ryen Russillo Podcast this week to talk not only about college football, but to look back at that time where both Russillo and Kanell felt uncertain about their positions at the company.
“I had talked to my agent and he was like you are good to go. College football is one of the biggest priorities of the company, you are one of the bigger voices, you’re good,” Kanell said. “Couple weeks would go by and you kind get a little more nervous. A lot of people were holding meetings trying to make sure they are in good standing and I would go play golf on the off-day…Then comes the day. No one knew when the day was going to be. It was like a Black Friday without knowing there was a Black Friday.
“I get a phone call and it was the number from ESPN. I didn’t answer the first time and then it calls back and then it was a call from one of our higher-ups in radio who said hey, can you come in? It was eerily similar to can you bring your playbook conversation. I didn’t ask on the phone, I said sure…When the time I hang up the phone, I call my agent and I’m like what is happening? He’s like I don’t know. I go in and they got the two higher-ups there because they want the witness, make sure nothing happens and it’s thank you for your time.”
Russillo had a meeting with John Skipper at the time to want to talk about where he stood with the company, but while Russillo wanted to talk, Skipper just wanted to vent on something that was bothering him, according to Russillo.
“I had gone in to meet with Skipper. We usually got together every 6 months and he was good to me in that way. I was like hey, this isn’t working out for me in radio. I know what’s going to happen. All the signs point to this. They don’t like the show with Danny and I. I don’t want to leave. I think there’s going to be value for me somewhere else. That was the whole plan.
“The meeting with Skipper was Tuesday. The Monday, there was a leak that all of these people on air were going to let go. We spent the entire meeting, I listened to him complain about leaks and I was like okay, we didn’t get anywhere. Selfishly, I needed some Ryen time. I was just kind of being his therapist for an hour while he was like I can’t believe these leaks, Ryen.”
When Kanell looked back at why he might have been laid off by ESPN, he thought back to two specific instances.
“Possibly because the person who I upset the most was asking me to be suspended for a tweet because I was trolling the SEC. It did tick off somebody and even though I apologized, I don’t know if that person ever got over it. That person since that time rose up the ranks where they were really powerful and had some influence whether or not I was there.”
“The other thing I don’t know if it helped, even though it was a joke, was wearing the ‘make radio great again’ hat just because it was red and it appeared like a MAGA hat even though it wasn’t. I’m sure there were people that might have walked by a TV and double-take. One of those two things probably put the final nail in the coffin.”
Russillo and Kanell were able to talk about that awkward moment and they took the listener inside what happened during one of the crazier times at ESPN as their show was coming to an end.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Jason Fitz: Keyshawn Johnson Cannot Be Serious With Trevor Lawrence Take
“There is no way Trevor Lawrence is the eighth-best quarterback out of eight left in the playoffs after doing what he did after the first quarter of that last game.”
When he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, Trevor Lawrence was heralded as a once-in-a-lifetime type of prospect. While his career had a bit of a rocky start, he has shown a lot in year two, including leading one of the largest come-from-behind victories in playoff history Saturday night against the Chargers. Jason Fitz cannot believe that isn’t enough to impress Keyshawn Johnson.
The ESPN Radio morning man ranked the eight remaining starting quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs and put Lawrence dead last.
“Trevor Lawrence at eight? I know Keyshawn Johnson is out there in California, but I want to party with Key because obviously, he was doing a little partying before this show, Harry,” Jason Fitz told his partner on Tuesday’s edition of Fitz & Harry. “There is no way Trevor Lawrence is the eighth-best quarterback out of eight left in the playoffs after doing what he did after the first quarter of that last game.”
Fitz noted that during the season people started calling Lawrence “Trevor Tangerines” for the daringness he continued to show even after things looked bad for him and the Jaguars. He said that on Saturday night, he should have been called “Trevor Watermelons”.
Jason Fitz acknowledged that it would be hard to rank anyone ahead of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts, which made up Keyshawn Johnson’s top four. But Fitz doesn’t think this is a matter of Lawrence being disrespected for being number eight, behind Brock Purdy, who began the season as the 49ers’ third-string quarterback, instead of number seven.
“Considering the whole body of work and the way that Trevor Lawrence has played since week nine, you wouldn’t have to press hard to put Daniel Jones below Trevor Lawrence.”
He added that Keyshawn Johnson is also being influenced by the uniform Trevor Lawrence wears.
“I think there’s a little element that speaks to the fact that we have a perception on certain organizations. I’m just saying — four interceptions or not — this is the analogy I keep making this week: If Trevor Lawrence had the bounceback game with the star in his helmet as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, today the conversation would be like ‘Well, you can’t hold him down the whole game’.”
Boomer Esiason: ManningCast Proves Peyton Manning Can Never Be a Coach
“He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
Don’t expect to see Peyton Manning on an NFL sideline. He may be one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but Manning isn’t cut out to be a coach according to Boomer Esiason.
On Tuesday morning, Esiason and the rest of the Boomer & Gio cast listened to highlights of the previous night’s ManningCast. They enjoyed the audio of Peyton Manning losing his temper after Cowboys kicker Brent Maher missed his third extra-point attempt of the night.
The clip, which has since gone viral, includes Manning asking if a kicker can be cut at halftime of a playoff game.
“This is why Peyton can’t coach,” Esiason said in response to the audio. “He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
The chemistry and authenticity of Peyton and Eli is often cited as the appeal of the ManningCast. Esiason noted that was what is on display in moments the brothers cannot control.
Boomer Esiason was a guest on the week eight ManningCast, which featured his former team, — the Cincinnati Bengals — playing Cleveland Browns. Esiason said at the time that while it was a distracting way to try and follow a game, being a part of the show is a lot of fun. He echoed that praise Tuesday morning.
“Those things are really unbelievably done. I mean, they are funny.”
NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.
SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.
Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.
NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.
The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.
“Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans, and our long-term relationship with the NHL enables us to deliver those fans across North America comprehensive access to the league, offering them live broadcasts of every game and the only 24/7 NHL channel in audio,” said SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“Live sports, coupled with great, in-depth sports talk, is one of the key elements of our programming and we are very pleased to be extending our content agreement with the NHL for many more years.”