Sorry for the dejecting headline, but that’s how we feel after reading this tweet:
I am leaving ESPN.
Salary cap casualty.
Thanks for the opportunity Vince Doria & Al Jaffe & for taking my solicitations
I will miss the people.
I will miss the vending machine set up over by the old Van Pelt joint.
We had everything.
— Kenny Mayne (@Kenny_Mayne) May 10, 2021
Kenny Mayne? A cap casualty? That’s a bummer. Andrew Marchand at the New York Post says the network offered Mayne a new deal with a pay cut, so Mayne moved on instead.
This is a trend in many of its negotiations as it tries to “market corrects” what it views as exorbitant salaries.
Define “exorbitant.” ESPN pays out bazillions of dollars annually for all sorts of crap, so I can’t imagine they didn’t have enough money to keep paying a veteran what he’s worth.
Mayne is one of those guys who helped defined what ESPN was all about back in the day. The dry humor. The off-beat delivery and goofy one-liners. He never took himself too seriously and pretty much encapsulated the fun nature of sport before social media took over. This was during an era when people like Stuart Scott and Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen and Linda Cohn just gave you the highlights without any hot takes or bloviating bullshit. It was pre-Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless and all of that. The halcyon days of Sports Center.
You probably remember Mayne the most from that 11 p.m. slot he co-hosted with Patrick back in the late 90s. That was after Keith Olbermann left the network. He also did projects like RPM2Night and Kenny Mayne’s Wilder World of Sports, among other things.
Anyway, maybe this news doesn’t resonate for those of you who are a bit younger, or missed out on prime ESPN. But there was an entire generation of sports fans who grew up watching guys like Kenny Mayne and Stuart Scott give us daily highlights and one liners, and it was always entertaining and informative television. You saw all of the big plays from the biggest games. There was laugh-out-loud humor. You usually learned something you didn’t know. It was a great time for sports media, and Kenny Mayne was one of the personalities who made that possible.
Hopefully he stays in the sports world and/or launches something new and interesting.