Kenny Mayne’s departure from ESPN draws massive outpouring of support.
1. Sports fans have this certain affection for a group of SportsCenter anchors from the show’s glory days. And by glory days we mean before the internet was popular.
The people in this group were not only talented, they had the responsibility of giving us all of our sports news. It was newspapers and SportsCenter back in the day.
So when someone from that group moves on from ESPN, it causes feelings of melancholy. Whether you were a huge fan of the anchor or just a casual fan, the departure always drums up a sense of nostalgia.
That was the case on Monday when Kenny Mayne announced his last appearance on SportsCenter and on ESPN would be May 24.
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN offered Mayne a new contract but at a reduced salary.
As Marchand noted, the days of ESPN paying SportsCenter anchors big salaries are going to end. The business has changed and SportsCenter doesn’t have the caché it once did; we are in a time when it’s all about personality-driven content and a shift to streaming.
But, it would seem Mayne would be a great fit for both of these things, so it’s odd ESPN couldn’t come up with a way to make something work. You can make the argument that after 27 years of service at ESPN, Mayne should not have to take a pay cut, but business is business.
One thing that’s different about the current times, though, is there is life after ESPN for talent.
Rich Eisen and Dan Patrick proved a long time ago it was possible for former SC anchors to make new careers elsewhere, but it’s even easier for talent to carve out roles for themselves now more than ever because of the options with streaming outlets, podcasts, social media, etc.
Side note and cheap plug: I discussed this topic on the SI Media Podcast a few weeks ago with former ESPNer Adnan Virk, who now has myriad jobs.
Mayne should have no problem bouncing back considering his unique talent. It almost seems as if Mayne was too original and not cookie-cutter enough for ESPN.
Mayne has been with ESPN since 1994, when he got hired after sending this letter to then ESPN president John Walsh.
You have seen a lot of Mayne tributes over the past 24 hours and will continue to do so. None will perfectly encapsulate Mayne’s personality and humor than that letter.
It should also be noted that it’s rare in this business to never hear anything negative about someone. But Mayne was someone who seemed universally loved. And that was apparent in the outpouring of messages that came Monday from current and former colleagues.
2. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck may or may not be rekindling their romance from years ago, but the former couple spent some time together in Montana recently after her breakup with Alex Rodriguez became official.
Naturally, this was ripe fodder for Twitter.
3. This was truly an awful segment and discussion, so if I had to sit through it, so you do.
This is the correct take on the “Tebow is taking a spot away from someone” argument.
4. The NFL Network’s schedule release show Wednesday night will be THREE—count ’em—THREE hours.
5. The latest SI Media Podcast features two interviews. The show kicks off with Ryen Russillo of The Ringer. I recapped a meaty portion of what we discussed in Thursday’s Traina Thoughts. Other topics covered include going from ESPN to The Ringer, deciding to stick to sports, does he ever get sick of podcasting, why Pam Beesly is “evil,” can we take any joy out of this NBA season and much more.
Following Russillo, Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on The Office, joined the podcast. Baumgartner talks about hosting The Office Deep Dive Podcast, what kind of Dunder Mifflin swag he has, the anniversary of his famous chili scene and how he feels about outlets editing out scenes from The Office. Baumgartner, who is good friends with Aaron Rodgers, also shares his insight on the Packers’ quarterback’s being unhappy with the team.
You can also watch the podcast on YouTube.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Mayne and Marshawn Lynch made magic together during Lynch’s rookie season in Buffalo.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.