It was bizarre when former ESPN president John Skipper abruptly resigned in December. It’s even more bizarre now.
Skipper cited a substance abuse problem when he resigned, saying he was stepping away from the company to seek treatment. However, there’s much more to the story than that.
In an interview with ESPN historian James Andrew Miller, Skipper says he had a recreational habit of using cocaine. He claims his use of cocaine never interfered with his work and that he was careful from whom he bought the drug.
But his problems arose when a drug dealer attempted to extort him.
Skipper: In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me.
JAM: Someone you had had dealings with in the past?
JAM: Again, respectfully, didn’t you just say you were careful about your dealings in this area?
Skipper: Not this time. It turned out I wasn’t careful this time.
JAM: What did they say?
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.
That, ultimately, was the outcome. Skipper resigned on Dec. 15, 2017 and his replacement at ESPN was named last week.
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