Former ESPN president John Skipper revealed that he resigned this past December because of a cocaine extortion plot.
This past December, seemingly out of nowhere, ESPN president John Skipper resigned, citing a "substance abuse problem" as the reason. Thursday, via an interview from The Hollywood Reporter, we now have a lot more information.
Skipper revealed that his substance abuse problem dealt with cocaine. He said that while his cocaine use never crossed over into his work life, someone he was involved with did attempt to extort him in December. The threats were too great for him to continue in his position.
Here's a piece of the interview:
JAM: Well, John, with all due respect, I’m a bit confused. There seems to be a big piece missing to this story. I’m looking at my notes: First, you’ve shared that you were an infrequent user of cocaine — something that could be true of others in the entertainment and media business. I’m not an expert in this area, but I’m not sure some would even call that an addiction. Second, you’ve stated categorically that your use never got in the way of your work. And third, you’ve admitted that on the days leading up to your decision to resign, you had no thoughts of resigning. None of that seems to explain why you reached the decision you had to resign.
I know this is difficult, John. I hope you understand why I’m pushing a bit here.
Skipper: In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me.
JAM: Someone you had had dealings with in the past?
Skipper: They threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well. I foreclosed that possibility by disclosing the details to my family, and then when I discussed it with Bob, he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.
Skipper, obviously, did resign. The network waited almost three months to name his replacement - Jimmy Pitaro.
Hopefully, Skipper is getting the help he needs. Only time will tell if he's able to return to sports media.