Keith Olbermann’s two-year contract with ESPN is done. As everybody predicted the day the deal was signed, he’s moving on. The final show on ESPN2 was July 24. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hank Azaria dropped by as surprise guests.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that the network wanted Olbermann to stop making commentaries, some of which were critical of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. There has been speculation that the NFL stuck ESPN with a subpar “Monday Night Football” schedule to make a point.
Other rumors made the rounds, mostly about financial arrangements, but remember that sometimes media outlets are fed “scoops” by people with agendas.
One thing is true, and a bit curious: Keith left without making a scene – something that has almost never happened. And this guy has had a lot of jobs since joining an almost-startup CNN in 1981. (He’s joked about having 32 overall, “the average number.”)
Another truth: This guy is a fantastic talent, a brilliant and entertaining writer with an eye for the unusual and making the mundane interesting.
Some people have always complained about his left-leaning political views inserted into sports coverage. Likely that was a problem for ESPN this time around, too. So what? He never changed anybody’s mind about politics.
Enjoy talent. There’s damn little out there.
And if Keith resurfaces at MSNBC … remember this 2013 headline from Adweek magazine: “Hell Freezes Over, Olbermann Rejoins ESPN.”