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Ryen Russillo Leaving ESPN For The Ringer

“This is not an anti-ESPN move. It’s a pro-Ringer one. I have wanted to pursue other things for a while, and Bill gave me this opportunity.”

Jack Ferris

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Since putting ESPN Radio in his rear view mirror to explore other career options nearly two years ago, Ryen Russillo has stayed in the public spotlight through a variety of platforms.  He’s continued his ESPN podcast, made guest appearances on a variety of studio shows, and has established a large profile with The Ringer producing a football podcast and contributing to a variety of other pods.  This week, Ringer founder Bill Simmons announced he’s no longer sharing Russillo with the Worldwide Leader.

Simmons made the announcement on Monday via Twitter.

From the outside, Russillo straddling ESPN and Ringer responsibilities appeared to be working.  Working part time for both outlets simultaneously was certainly unprecedented, but seemed like a successful experiment.  In fact, it even led to ESPN’s Mina Kimes working for The Ringer‘s Big Little Live, a comprehensive weekly Twitter post game show breaking down each episode of HBO’s Big Little Live.

The “exclusive” announcement comes just a few weeks after Russillo and longtime radio partner Scott Van Pelt announced their intention to produce a monthly podcast together under the ESPN umbrella.  It also means the 44-year-old is officially leaving ESPN after 14 years with the company.
Regarding the decision, Russillo told John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal “This is not an anti-ESPN move.  It’s a pro-Ringer one.  I have wanted to pursue other things for a while, and Bill gave me this opportunity.”

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Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong

“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”

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The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.

During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.

“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”

The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.

“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”

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Dan Le Batard: It Enrages Me That There’s a Craig Carton Show on TV

“The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Jordan Bondurant

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The news of Tom Brady announcing his retirement on Wednesday came as Dan Le Batard and company were on the air, and in the midst of the initial reaction to Brady’s announcement, Le Batard offered a quick shot at WFAN and FS1 host Craig Carton.

Carton has been hosting a morning show on FS1 since last September. Craig added the TV show to co-hosting his successful afternoon drive program on WFAN alongside Evan Roberts.

But as Le Batard and the rest of the show were looking at the TV trying to figure out what was going on with the Brady story, Dan said he thought it was crazy Carton was on television.

“It enrages me that there’s a Carton show,” Le Batard said. “The man went to jail. The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Carton went to prison for a year after facing a charge of securities and wire fraud. In the fall of 2020, after being released from jail earlier in the year, Carton made his return to WFAN.

It’s possible that Le Batard, who is busy running his own independent media operation, wasn’t aware Carton had a TV show. So it’s likely seeing Craig’s face probably was a bit of a shock. But it was clear Dan wasn’t expecting to learn the news from Carton’s show.

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ESPN Hands Out 6 New Contracts To Investigative Journalists

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN is solidifying its lineup of investigative journalists. The network announced on Wednesday the hiring of two newcomers as well as contract extensions for four others.

Xuan Thai and Sara Coello are the two newcomers to The Worldwide Leader, starting their jobs in January.

Thai previously worked at NBC News and MSNBC. Most recently, she was the deputy bureau chief of the south region at NBC.

Coello has made her way to ESPN after stops at The Charlotte Observer, The Dallas Morning News and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

Alyssa Roenigk, Tisha Thompson, Sam Borden and Tom Junod are the four others who received contract extensions.

Roenigk is the most senior of the group, with 2023 being her 21st year at ESPN. She’s been an editor, sideline reporter, studio host and writer in that stretch of two decades.

Thompson and Borden both started at ESPN in 2017. Thompson has covered stories including the ongoing government investigation of Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and investigated sexual assault allegations within the U.S. Snowboard team.

Borden has appeared regularly on various ESPN platforms like the ESPN Daily podcast and Outside the Lines. He’s a 2021 Edward R. Murrow Award winner for an NFL Countdown piece called “This Big Mo Show.”

Junod has been at ESPN since 2019. His previous stops include GQ, Esquire, Life and Sports Illustrated.

Additionally, a contract extension for veteran feature producer Scott Harves was announced by the network.

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