October 25, 2009
The network wonks may have waited until the New York tabloids were preoccupied with a busy day of Yankees and Giants news, but the result is the same.
Steve Phillips is no longer an employee of ESPN.
That's according to the Twitter feed of ESPN PR man Mike Soltys, who posted the following message about the baseball broadcaster and ex-Mets general manager late on Sunday evening:
"Steve Phillips is no longer working for ESPN. His ability to be an effective rep of ESPN has been significantly & irreparably damaged."
The news ends at least one aspect of the soap opera that started last week when it was revealed that Phillips engaged in an alleged affair with a 22-year-old production assistant from ESPN. Brooke Hundley later harassed his family by contacting his son over the Internet and showing up at their Connecticut home to deliver a letter to his wife that detailed the affair.
After firing Harold Reynolds back in 2006 for some inappropriate hugging (a move that caused the network to settle out of court on Reynolds' wrongful termination lawsuit), ESPN did the right thing here by ridding the ESPN studios and the Sunday Night Baseball booth of Phillips' presence. Carrying on a relationship with a subordinate less than half his age (Phillips is 46) seems like enough of an offense, but throw in the fact that Phillips is married with children and ESPN's decision was a rather easy one.
Some will undoubtedly greet this news by dancing on the grave of Phillips' career — I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say they liked his sometimes-illogical analysis — but when you consider what his wife and family are going through, it's much too sad for that. A lot of us wanted ESPN to forever shush Phillips, but certainly not under these circumstances.