Last week Ed Werder received the grim news that he was among the many layoffs at ESPN. The veteran NFL reporter was told the layoff would go into effect immediately.
But soon after being informed that his services were no longer needed, he was asked to cover the New Orleans Saints as part of the network’s 2017 NFL Draft coverage. He shared the story during a conversation on The Doomsday Podcast which includes former ESPN Dallas host Matt Mosley.
“When they finished telling me I was laid off, they said it was effective immediately,” Werder said. “The next thing they told me to do as a former employee of ESPN was stay and cover the Saints’ draft, which seemed like an odd way to begin your unemployment. It seemed like it was my option, and I chose not to do it. It just didn’t feel like it was the right place for me to be, alone in a hotel room and then out in public as a former employee, representing ESPN with the New Orleans Saints.”
Werder acknowledged on the podcast that ESPN is honoring the contracts of the employees it laid off but would not continue to pay them if they got a job elsewhere. He was however given permission to take part in the podcast.
“Apparently, if I want to continue being paid by ESPN for the duration of my contract, they will not allow me to work in television or other media without risking all that they owe me,” added Werder.
That decision has left Werder feeling like a restricted free agent. To signify it, he’s added the letters RFA to his Twitter handle.
Werder also shared his thoughts on the company’s vision and expressed confusion in where the network is headed.
“It causes me to wonder, what is ESPN about? I thought it was about news and information and highlights, and I’m not sure that is the point of emphasis any more. How is ESPN going to cover the NFL without all of the people who just lost their jobs? What happens without Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworksi to NFL Matchup? What happens to NFL Insiders without a number of analysts, former general managers like Joe Banner and Mark Dominik. Are we really about to see a time when ESPN can no longer afford to cover its most valuable property in the way that it has?”
To hear the Doomsday Podcast click here.