ESPN has confirmed that Sean Salisbury, a 12-year veteran of the four-letter network’s TV and radio, is done in Bristol.
“Sean Salisbury has made many contributions to our efforts for the past 12 years. We thank him and wish him all the best,” said ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer.
For his part, Salisbury and his agent put a positive spin on the move, talking of “expanding his horizons” and the like.
It’s not surprising at all that Salisbury is out. What’s surprising is that it took this long. The guy had become a bad parody of himself, straining to sound opinionated and controversial while protecting the many players and coaches whom he considers to be friends and sources.
Most likely the last straw came in early February when, in the midst of one of their staged “debates,” Salisbury crossed the line, referring to John Clayton as “the crypt-keeper.” (You Tube video)
He was suspended a few years ago in what ESPN referred to as a matter of internal discipline. This was later revealed to have been a sexual harassment incident.
Salisbury had used his cell phone camera to take pictures of his manhood and then circulated the shots around the Bristol campus, including some female staffers. No one was amused and the perp was put on the shelf for a couple of weeks.
As Redskins fans know, it’s likely that those pictures revealed an undersized pair of stones.
In 2005 the Skins were in the midst of rallying from a 5-6 mark to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot. The run was peopled with doubters, including Salisbury. He chose to express his doubt in a characteristically phony way, swearing that if the Redskins made the playoffs he would walk naked from Bristol to Washington, D. C.
As the season ended, most everyone forgot about the bet. But not the Redskins fans.
Letters and e-mails to ESPN headquarters called on the management to force Salisbury to keep his word; those calls went unheeded. During the NFL draft, Joe Gibbs called Salisbury out on the matter during an interview with Trey Wingo (You Tube video, it’s near the end of the clip).
Salisbury did respond, lamely suggesting that he had promised to take the nude strut only if the Redskins made the Super Bowl. He said that he would check the clips, though, and get back to us.
We’re still waiting. But he should have plenty of free time on his hands now.