Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford is leaving the paper after three decades, per him:
A little personal news. I think that's how everyone puts it. I'm leaving the Inquirer after 32 years. My choice, my timing. The paper has been home for a long time, though, and it's hard to leave home. I will miss it, but am ready to do other things, assuming there are some.
— Bob Ford (@bobfordsports) April 29, 2020
Bob was always a pleasure to talk to at Sixers games and practices. Great dude with a witty personality. Sardonic, but in a good way, if that makes any sense at all. He was one of those people you always sought out for conversation when he was in the building.
Ford was a staple at the Inquirer since most of us were children or teenagers, covering the Phillies, Sixers, Eagles, and Flyers as a wide-ranging columnist. Even going through his archives at the Inquirer website, he wrote about the Olympics, Villanova, and March Madness in the past couple of months.
His departure is the latest in a series of high-profile Inquirer exits. Last July, John Smallwood, Sam Donnellon, Rick O’Brien, and Stu Bykofsky took buyouts as part of another round of cost-cutting measures. Zach Berman had earlier left for The Athletic while Mike Kern, Bob Vetrone, and Dick Jerardi departed at the end of 2017. Along the way, the Inquirer brain trust has put forth dirt cheap offers in an effort to get more readers to buy digital and print subscriptions, and now the latest legacy media obstacle is a global pandemic which has completely shut down the sports world.
Some of these veterans are leaving on their own terms, and some aren’t, and it’s difficult to know how many of these media lay offs and cuts are truly due to COVID-19 or whether companies like Gannett and Entercom had targeted specific folks prior to the pandemic. The latter happened with the Rob Charry situation, I’m told, but either way, there seems to be a significant changing of the guard taking place in the world of sports media, with a number of well-known personalities moving on to retirement, or other things.
Best of luck to Bob Ford, a fantastic writer and quality human being.
Reached out to Bob and this is what he had to say –
“Took a buyout. My choice. No pressure, not COVID related. I’m 65 and want to do other things and it was a good deal. Not much more complicated than that.”