In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, ESPN's president John Skipper revealed he resigned from ESPN after being extorted by his drug dealer.
Here's what he disclosed to the magazine: “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 [Disney CEO] Bob [Iger], he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.”
Skipper added that he had always been cautious about his drug use, but “not this time. It turned out I wasn’t careful this time.”
According to Skipper, he had never done cocaine at work at ESPN, he rarely used it and it never affected his performance.
When asked if he considered another route that allowed him to stay at ESPN, he said: “I wish that had been the outcome. I didn’t ask for that outcome, though. I was overwhelmed by the circumstance. I simply just disclosed the facts, and it became clear in my conversation with Bob what I needed to do. Everything happened very quickly.”
“I don’t think I ate for the 48 hours,” Skipper added. “I was filled with great regret and tension. My stomach was churning. I wasn’t sleeping. I was despondent. I was panicked. But, no, I never thought about trying to reverse course.”
It seems like he's currently exploring other opportunities and this interview could be seen as Skipper’s first step back toward a role in the industry.
“Right now, I enjoy the great luxury of time and being able to only do things I want to do, with people I want to do them with, but I find myself impatient. I’d like to get back in and do some things that matter. I’d like to work with some people who are doing exciting things. I think, when you step back, I was in the maelstrom of a day-to-day job in which I was concerned about trying to get things done every minute, and it was an extraordinarily large job. Now, as I take time to look at the world of sports and media and things I care about —basketball and soccer and culture and media — there are a lot of really fun things to do."
He added - “I’m actually quite excited. In some ways, I have no choice but to make the best of it. And I do intend to make the best of it. I’ve been meeting with people, and that has gotten me even more excited. I’m healthy, and I’m ready to plunge back in. I don’t know exactly what form that will take. I don’t think it will take the form of a large corporate job, managing a lot of people and running a big company. I think it will take the form of helping a few smart people; people I like and respect and who do things that matter.”
If you can't trust your coke dealer, who can you trust?