Sports

Why Olbermann would have trouble returning to major sports broadcasting networks

Photo of Laura Donovan
Laura Donovan
Contributor

In the aftermath of Keith Olbermann’s abrupt departure from MSNBC, some are speculating on whether he’ll end up at another network or return to sports broadcasting.

But Olbermann fans shouldn’t hold their breath, at least if they hope he’ll go back to work for former employer ESPN, SportsGrid reported Saturday. It’s likely that Olbermann has also exhausted his options with Fox as an employment option, having ended his tenure at Fox Sports Net with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch firing him and calling him “crazy.”

Jim Miller, author of a book on the ins and outs of ESPN, tweeted Saturday that ESPN insiders said Olbermann “would not be returning to the network.”

Olbermann, who anchored at ESPN from 1992 to 1997 and co-hosted a radio show in 2005, instigated trouble while employed there. In 1997, he was suspended for two weeks after making an unauthorized appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” During the appearance, Olbermann made negative comments about Bristol, Connecticut, ESPN’s headquarters. Olbermann said Bristol was a “godforsaken place.”

While delivering Cornell University’s 1998 commencement address, Olbermann told graduates that his ESPN position gave him “dry heaves” and would “make [him] ashamed, make [him] depressed, make [him] cry.”

In 2002, Olbermann wrote in a Salon.com column that he was shocked and sorry to learn that he’d previously brought fellow anchor Suzy Kolber to tears while at ESPN.

“I now read with horror of my ESPN2 co-host, Ms. Kolber, sequestering herself in the women’s bathroom and weeping over how I treated her,” Olbermann wrote.

After ESPN, Olbermann had a three-year stint with Fox Sports Net, but was fired by Murdoch, who called him crazy.

“I fired him five years ago…He was crazy,” Murdoch said.

In 2004, Olbermann implied that Fox Sports Net was the poor man’s version of ESPN, according to a Cornell Sun report.

“Fox Sports was an infant trying to stand [in comparison to ESPN],” Olbermann said. “But on the broadcast side there was no comparison — ESPN was the bush leagues.”

During a 2007 appearance on the “Late Show,” host David Letterman asked Olbermann, “What is it about you? You seem to burn bridges wherever you leave.”

Olbermann said of his relationship with ESPN, “I don’t burn bridges, I burn rivers. If you burn a bridge, you can possibly build a new bridge, but if there’s no river any more, that’s a lot of trouble. I just try to run the place.”

In that same interview, Olbermann added that he was banned from ESPN’s main campus in Bristol.

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  • Sproing

    There is something very unsettling about Mr. Olberman personally. One look at his employment record over his lifetime would seem to indicate an inability to get along with his employers at every stop. This makes me think that he has issues grounded in a degree of self-adulation and self-promotion that won’t allow him to think of himself as in anyway ordinary or like other people. He seems to always think of himself as somehow intrinsically superior to others and gets angry when he thinks that others don’t agree through deed or word with his self described superiority.

    I wouldn’t be surprised of before his life ends, Mr. Olberman will find himself alone and broken due to his inability to see the world as a place in which he is NOT one of the important people.

  • Archie Leech

    Please stay out of sports Keith. Can’t you be satisfied with tweeting your lemmings and the occasional blog on the Koz? I really enjoy my sports, and will be eternally happy if your smug mug never soils another sports broadcast.

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com apollospeaks

    THE ASTONISHING AIR AMERICA/KEITH OLBERMANN “COINCIDENCE”

    After close to six years of struggling to compete with Rush Limbaugh and Conservative talk radio, and coming just two days after Scott Brown’s shocking victory over Kennedyism in Massachusetts, the Air America Radio Network announced its dissolution and demise. The date was January 21, 2010 exactly one year to the very day when Keith Olbermann would call it quits on MSNBC. Amazingly, Air America began broadcasting on March 31, 2004 with the Al Franken Show. Amazing beacuse Air America’s launch date fell on the first anniversary of Olbermann’s roll out of Countdown…..

    Click my name and continue reading

  • FREEDOMFIGHTER

    LIKE OBAMA HE COULD’NT PICK HIS NOSE!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diana-VI/899050532 Diana VI

    let’s see if it works now

  • theslowrider

    ESPN already has A LOT of liberal racist haters working there, so I’m sure Keith will fit right in. I quit watching ESPN years ago!!

  • mdiavaro99ro

    Why can’t I see my profile picture next to my comments?!
    I, when I burn rivers, I do it so that there’s no need for bridges or boats anymore: just let my picture go where it belongs…… TY :D

    • mdiavaro99ro

      Ok. I’ve solved it! I take back “TY” :D

      • mdiavaro99ro

        oops! too early…..
        LOL LOL LOL