Because of cord-cutting and the increased price of its partners’ live broadcast rights, ESPN has periodically laid off talents since 2015. In 2017, ESPN parted ways with over 100 on-air personalities, including Danny Kanell.
ESPN’s decision to cut Kanell surprised its listeners and viewers. Why would ESPN cut Kanell, who contributed to both the ESPN daily radio lineup and weekly college football programming?
In discussion with his former co-host Ryen Russillo — whom leakers inaccurately claimed ESPN would also lay off — Kanell cited two “specific instances” that he believes caused ESPN to part ways with him.
“Possibly because the person who I upset the most was asking me to be suspended for a tweet because I was trolling the SEC,” Kanell says on the Ryen Russillo Podcast. “It did tick off somebody and even though I apologized, I don’t know if that person ever got over it. That person since that time rose up the ranks where they were really powerful and had some influence whether or not I was there.”
Media talents are some of the most thin-skinned, agitated people there are. But even worse are media executives who use their power to demote talents they do not like. See ESPN SVP Dave Roberts, an instrument of Stephen. A Smith, as an example.
The second thing Kanell did to bother his coworkers — and this is a disqualifier inside the walls of ESPN — Kanell wore a red hat that said: “Make Radio Great Again.” You can figure out the rest.
“The other thing, I don’t know if it helped, even though it was a joke, was wearing the ‘Make Radio Great Again’ hat just because it was red and it appeared like a MAGA hat even though it wasn’t,” Kanell said. “I’m sure there were people that might have walked by a TV and double-take. One of those two things probably put the final nail in the coffin.”
Before 2020, 2017 was the peak of ESPN’s politicization. Still headed by a radical leftist called John Skipper, ESPN aggressively promoted the furthest left, most condescending talents it had: Bomani Jones, Pablo Torre, Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, Sarah Spain, and Kate Fagan. All of whom failed, of course.
Still, though he recognizes two key reasons behind his dismissal, Kanell misses the reason ESPN first made him available for slashing. As you can tell, Kanell is a white man. Say it in a spooky tone, please.
ESPN decided in 2015 to comply with media hall monitors and release white men for the color of their skin. Therefore Kanell and a long list of other white men at ESPN soon joined the unemployment line. Here are a few of the many: Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Todd Grisham, Mark Schlereth, Marc Stein, Ed Werder, Adam Caplan, and recently Mike Golic and Trey Wingo.
Even James Andrew Miller suggested these layoffs had to do with gender and race:
Not a good week to be a middle aged white guy. #espnlayoffs
— james andrew miller (@JimMiller) October 21, 2015
Put simply, in order for ESPN to support the lavish salaries it had showered upon its peak leftist talent, the network had to slash salaries by cutting white men from its roster. Kanell happened to be one of them. That’s how ESPN decided on its cut list: skin and gender combination.
By the way, Danny Kanell is an incredibly talented and versatile personality whom ESPN could still use. But that’s what Kanell gets for being both white and a male. Again, say in a ghostly voice, please.