ESPN’s reputation as the "Sodom and Gomorrah of sports television" has plummeted further after baseball analyst Steve Phillips, 46, admitted to an affair with fellow-staffer-turned-stalker Brooke Hundley, 22. This isn’t the first sex scandal for either the married Phillips (who took a leave of absence from the New York Mets in 1998) or for ESPN. Does the sports network have a sex problem? (Watch news coverage of Phillips' affair)
The affair was "consensual"—give ESPN a break: The World Wide Leader has been trying for years to "clean up its long-standing image as a post-graduate fraternity house," says Neil Best in Newsday, and this latest incident of inter-office indiscretion "will not help." But the network is hardly the only workplace facing this issue: "Let the first large company that is without sin cast the first blog post."
“Bobby Valentine is in at ESPN, Steve Phillips out (for now)”
The network knew Phillips’ history when hiring him: "Make no mistake, ESPN are enablers here," says Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News. "If they were so concerned about cleaning up their Animal House they would have never hired Phillips." But now it’s hard to see how it can fire him, unless ESPN suits "put very specific morals clauses in his contract"—and given Phillips’ history, "if they didn’t, they are morons."
“ESPN facing dilemma as ex-Mets GM Steve Phillips’ sex scandal with Brooke Hundley surfaces”
ESPN will be forced to clean up its act: "ESPN, whose parent company is Disney, has no choice but to quietly get him out of their ‘family’ for good," says D.S. Williamson in the sports site BetUS. It’s not just the affair—"Phillips put his family in danger by sleeping with "someone as disturbed as Brooke Hundley." We won’t be seeing loose-cannon Phillips for a while. "Mickey Mouse will take care of that."
“Steve Phillips Caught Cheating—Career Likely Done with ESPN”
See the latest on this story: ESPN's curious silence on the sex scandal
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- In defense of Obama's golfing
Subscribe to the Week