ESPN started laying off top talent in a major cost-cutting effort on Friday. Thankfully, an LSU football legend and major on-air personality survived.
LSU football alumnus and current football analyst Marcus Spears remains with ESPN following a gauntlet of hefty layoffs that included major talent. However, some fans feared the opposite after the Tigers’ former defensive lineman posted a perceived ‘goodbye’ tweet.
Spears later clarified that his tweet was regarding his now-former colleagues that the worldwide sports leader dismissed. ESPN’s layoffs included NFL draft expert Todd McShay, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, and longtime College GameDay personality David Pollack. Also, Max Kellerman, Keyshawn Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Jeff Van Grundy, Jalen Rose, and Suzy Kolber were reportedly laid off.
We hate seeing a veteran of NFL coverage like Kolber go, but we’re all in on more Marcus Spears. But, of course, we’re assuming ESPN will give us more Spears on television and radio as their NFL and college coverage increases despite their decreased on-air talent.
Spears played for LSU football from 2001-2004. The Baton Rouge native was a center of gravity for LSU football’s 2003 national championship season. He followed up with a career-collegiate season in 2004 before entering the NFL draft, in which the Dallas Cowboys made Spears the 20th overall selection.
Spears joined SEC Nation as a cohost in August 2014, following a nine-year NFL career. Then, ESPN moved ‘Big Swagu’ to daily NFL Live coverage after a new contract in 2020. The move also triggered more network appearances by Spears, including flagship television and morning radio shows.
ESPN’s parent company, Disney, announced three rounds of layoffs back in February. Friday’s pink slips were issued as part of the 3rd round of the cost-cutting initiative. Ironically, the ‘House of Mouse’ recently committed $85 million to Pat McAfee. One must also consider ESPN’s 10-year, $3 billion deal with the SEC that kicks in next year.
The SEC and McAfee deals show that Disney isn’t running short on cash. However, spending ridiculous money sometimes creates the need to cut costs elsewhere. Capitalism isn’t always fair or fun.