Monday, May 16, 2011

Fond Memories of Olbermann at ESPN: 'We Felt Not So Much Relief When Keith Left as Unrestrained F--king Joy'

A look at Keith Olbermann's days in Bristol. Not always a pretty picture.
Suzy Kolber
SportsNight co-anchor
The night before we went on the air, they were still making major, major changes. We were all in this giant room while they were doing it, and I vaguely remember Keith sitting on the floor in the corner. I just felt that Keith was an unhappy person. He made a lot of people unhappy around him. I'm sure he made me unhappy.
Sounds like a really mature guy. He's the foul-mouthed Olbermann himself:
Lack came to me no more than an hour before the first show and said, "Walsh doesn't know what the fuck he's doing." Which was true, but it was not inclusive enough. What I meant to say to him was, "None of you know what the fuck you're doing. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I don't know what I'm going to say in an hour."
He still doesn't seem to know what the fuck he's doing. The suits had him pegged.

Herb Granath
ESPN chairman
I was enraged by Olbermann. Guys like that just piss me off, you know, because there's no loyalty. It's just me, me, me. There was no choice but to get rid of him.

Keith and authority don't get along—ever. But he can also be one of the most loyal employees. Do not take a shot at Keith's guys; he will protect them, always. But he was hard to manage—I mean hard! Keith is a dark guy. If you take everything Keith says at face value, you will find your reason for living diminished.

But soon happy days were to come. The scowling dork was leaving. From longtime ESPNer Bob Ley:
I saw Walsh in the hallway, and I said, "Our long national nightmare is over, huh?" We felt not so much relief when Keith left as unrestrained fucking joy. And it may not be fair to him, because I don't know what his issues are. Some of what happened with him back then is romanticized, but there are still people there who remember how people were treated, spoken to, referred to, and no amount of subsequent gentle behavior is going to erase that.

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