Former ESPN President Reveals Reason He Abruptly Resigned

March 15, 2018 Updated: March 15, 2018

The former ESPN president said the reason he abruptly resigned in December was due to attempted blackmail.

John Skipper became president of the sports media company in 2012 and was president until his surprising departure in December 2017.

Overall, Skipper had been with Disney for 27 years.

Skipper said at the time of his resignation that he wanted to seek treatment for what he termed as a “substance addiction.”

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem,” Skipper said in a statement, reported Variety.

Until this week no further details had become known.

Now Skipper, 62, says that he was embroiled in a plot perpetrated by his cocaine dealer.

“In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me,” Skipper told The Hollywood Reporter.

“They threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well. I foreclosed that possibility by disclosing the details to my family, and then when I discussed it with Bob, he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.”

Skipper said the cocaine problem was mostly the dealer’s attempted extortion as opposed to an addiction, which he said never directly interfered with his work, but that he did seek therapy for his problem.

“I thought the best thing to do was to take the time to check myself into a facility, and I was able to understand a bit more about substance use and to think about how it intersected with my life. Therapy isn’t easy, particularly for a Southerner tightly wound with traditional values,” Skipper said.

“I have not necessarily been comfortable reflecting and being self-reflective. I’ve grown to learn that taking care of yourself is a continuous, lifelong process. What I’ve done is taken some time for reflection. I’ve had an opportunity to not use for a long period of time, and I have resources to help me now, which are ongoing.”

Skipper said he hopes to get a job soon.

“I think it will take the form of helping a few smart people; people I like and respect and who do things that matter,” he said.



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