The ESPN layoffs claimed some (very) big names in the sports media industry and Ed Werder was one of the biggest. The long-time NFL reporter was let go just days before the 2017 NFL Draft but, during a recent episode of his new podcast with another former ESPN employee, Matt Mosley, Werder explained that ESPN made a bizarre request of him just after making the call to let him go.
“So anyway, I got a text message to call my boss, who?s in charge of the NFL project at ESPN. So I did that, I did that knowing that unbelievably under the circumstances I was going to get laid off. And that is what transpired. And my boss had a human resources person in the room, and that just verifies for all certainty that you are going to be laid off.
And so when they finished telling me I was laid off, they said this was effective immediately, and the next thing they told me to do as a former employee of ESPN was stay and cover the Saints? draft, which seemed like an odd way to begin your unemployment. But it seemed like it was my option, and I chose not to. I just didn?t feel like it was the right place for me to be, alone in a hotel room and then out in public as a former employee, representing ESPN with the New Orleans Saints.”
The notion that ESPN would ask Werder to “stay and cover the Saints’ draft” is a baffling one. On one hand, the network is presumably paying Werder through the end of his deal but, on the other, it seems either aggressive or reckless to pursue this avenue given the brutal news that was just delivered.
Werder has already begun to land on his feet with the podcast and more is almost certainly to come. Still, this would not have been a request that went over well and it is clear that it did not.