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Rob Neyer dishes on ESPN, Elias

Jul 18, 2011, 4:45 PM EDT

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Over at SB Nation, former ESPN writer Rob Neyer talks about why he was suspended by his longtime employer back in 2000.

After writing and before posting a piece on a statistical controversy involving Randy Johnson, Neyer attempted to contact Elias editor Steve Hirdt “for some clarification.”  When there was no prompt response, he ran the piece anyway.

Shortly afterward, my editor called. Or rather, my editor’s boss called. They were yanking my column because I hadn’t called Elias. But I had called Elias. My editor’s boss called me back a few minutes later. Sorry. Steve Hirdt says you didn’t call. Nothing we can do about it. Tough (%$^!).

Neyer, upset about the incident, criticized ESPN on his personal website and was originally suspended for two weeks, without pay, as a result.  The suspension was later reduced to one week.

To this date, Neyer is convinced Hirdt didn’t get back to him for personal reasons.  Neyer is a Bill James disciple, and James and Hirdt have had a long-running feud, which Neyer briefly touches on.

Neyer adds that he was once scheduled to debate a topic with Hirdt on ESPNews, but that Hirdt refused to appear with him, leaving Neyer to apparently debate himself.

  1. bloodysock - Jul 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Hirdt was also a competing columist on ESPN’s Page 2. It can’t be just the sabermetrics angle that was the issue.

  2. CrimsonTribe - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Neyer adds that he was once scheduled to debate a topic with Hirdt on ESPNews, but that Hirdt refused to appear with him, leaving Neyer to apparently debate himself.

    Luckily Neyer is a master debater.

  3. 18thstreet - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    I remember Neyer having to apologize for speaking the truth about Joe Morgan, though harshly. He might have been suspended for that, too.

  4. adenzeno - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    ESPN is simply a shill for the NFL/NBA anymore. And lately they have proven themsleves to be vindictive and childish. This simply corroborates it. I seldom watch it.

  5. mgflolox - Jul 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Steve Hirdt is terrified of being exposed as a full of sh!t fraud as he truly is.

  6. clydeserra - Jul 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    I read that column 3 times.

    I think the SB nation editor* should be suspended for two weeks for allowing that to be posted. I can’t make heads or tails of the column.

    *presuming SB nation has an “editor” that copy edits

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