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Disney/ESPN dismisses high-profile talent amid sweeping layoffs

Get ready for a big change in coverage company-wide at ESPN

NFL: JAN 03 Packers at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN’s coverage of the NFL will look vastly different next season, after what may best be described as a stunning list of names and legacy on-air personalities who were let go on Friday, June 30. Reports have stated around 20 individuals are being let go. At the time of publishing, we have learned of 13 people who lost their jobs today. Additional names could be added to the list from this round of corporate-focused attrition.

Among those let go who were large contributors to NFL coverage:

(Links to ESPN bios have been included — click on each name to learn more about their careers.)

  • Suzy Kolber: Most recently as host of “Monday Night Countdown,” Kolber spent 27 years with the network. Her bio tells the story of an incredible professional career covering sport.
  • Todd McShay: The ESPN Senior NFL Draft Analyst & College Football Analyst had been with ESPN since 2006. McShay had been a part of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage since 2009 and provided coverage as a sideline reporter for college football.
  • Steve Young: The former Super Bowl MVP and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback was a mainstay with ESPN, as an analyst on “Monday Night Countdown,” and additional NFL-content shows since 2000.
  • Matt Hasselbeck: The former NFL quarterback’s primary role was as an analyst on “Sunday NFL Countdown” and he also contributed to a number of other ESPN TV and radio platforms. Hasselbeck had been with ESPN since his retirement from the NFL in 2016.
  • Keyshawn Johnson: When the ESPN analyst (“NFL Live”) and radio show host (Keyshawn, JWill & Max,”) lost his marquee morning radio show, his dismissal seemed all but imminent.

Additional high-profile talent shown the door on Friday included:

Jeff Van Gundy: Widely considered one of the best NBA TV game analysts, Van Gundy spent 16 years on ESPN/ABC’s lead NBA coverage team. Van Gundy joined ESPN in 2007.

Jalen Rose: The “NBA Countdown” analyst spent a decade with ESPN/ABC as part of the top NBA broadcast team. He was also part of several other NBA-centric programs.

Max Kellerman: The long-time boxing analyst was most recently the co-host of ESPN Radio’s signature national morning show “Keyshawn, JWill & Max, plus ESPN’s live weekday afternoon show, and “This Just In”, and “Max on Boxing” on ESPN2. Among myriad other appearances amid a sprawling career with ESPN, Kellerman was previously part of “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith.

LaPhonso Ellis: The men’s college basketball analyst had been a part of “College GameDay” since 2019.

Ashley Brewer: “ESPN Sportscenter” Anchor who joined the network in 2020.

Jordan Cornette: Hosted the “ACC Huddle” for six years on the “ACC Network.”

Jason Fitz: ESPN Radio host / “ESPN Sportscenter” on Snapchat host — Fitz had been part of numerous radio shows during his tenure at ESPN.

Joon Lee: Major League Baseball staff writer who spent four-plus years with ESPN.

This has not been a kind year to those employed by parent company, Disney. The brand/company announced earlier this year a larger initiative to eliminate 7,000 jobs. Friday’s layoffs were the third round of what is likely to be a continued push to trim salary.