Former ‘The Athletic’ Writer Bob Kravitz Roasts Site: ‘They Don’t Give A F*** About Me As A Human Being’

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Subscription-based sports site “The Athletic” knew how to hemorrhage money and internal morale.

From the woke sports coverage to the declaration that they could end up as the chief sports site on the Internet, “The Athletic” set its sights high but instead managed to crash and burn.

Now they’re facing heat from their former writers after waves of layoffs this year forced them to cut 4 percent of their staff.

Former Indianapolis Colts writer Bob Kravitz is speaking up on the soul-sucking experience of working for “The Athletic” — a site that evidently pimps out their writers to gain subscriptions.

The Indianapolis Star and Rocky Mountain News contributor obliterated “The Athletic” in a Substack post — calling them out for putting him on probation after failing to meet subscription quotas, concurrent to his recovery from triple bypass surgery in 2020.

From the inconsistent leadership to the factory-level demands for content, Kravitz torched “The Athletic” for treating their writers like meat.

Kravitz wrote:

I wasn’t happy that they put me on probation just a few months after a quadruple bypass in 2020. (And during the pandemic, no less). I guess my numbers weren’t what they wanted, but hell, I was recovering from a life-changing medical event.

You would think that might have some impact on their thinking, but no. I had to produce 395 subscriptions in three months – or else. That’s absurd, unfair and outrageous, especially given my health situation. Well, I survived, producing more than 400 subs by working myself half to death, a great idea after open-heart surgery. But that soured me on the place forever. I felt it in my bones:

‘They don’t give a f–k about me as a human being.’

I wasn’t happy that I had four editors in four years, all of them wanting something different. Write long-form pieces. OK, fine. No, write strong opinion columns. OK, fine. No, write about roster construction (what?). The goalposts kept moving, and they’re still moving with the New York Times’ acquisition of The Athletic.

And the metrics…everything was metrics. (Add “old man yelling at cloud” gif) I understand that’s the current way of the world in a media business that is almost universally struggling, but the numbers were in our faces – and on our minds – 24/7.

The Athletic makes a really big deal about the importance of mental health, and that’s great, but I think I’m speaking for a majority of current Athletic writers, the primacy of metrics (subs, unique views and the rest) had a deleterious impact on our collective mental health as a staff. There was nothing more dispiriting than working your ass off on a story, only to look at the metrics and see one subscription and 2,000 unique views. It was soul-sucking, honestly.


As previously reported on OutKick, “The Athletic” and its model lost a whopping $55 million in 2021. In 2019, the publication lost $54 million; also losing $41 million in 2020.

If they’re good at one or two things, it’s bleeding money and mistreating writers.

OutKick reached out to The Athletic for comment on Kravitz’s comments and did not hear back at the time of publication.

Doesn’t sound like a winning game plan, but the “New York Times”-owned site can learn that lesson in a slow death.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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