The 4 biggest breakups in sports media – USA TODAY
The sports world was stunned upon hearing ESPN’s Mike & Mike would be no more even after weeks of reports indicating they would be broken up. But according to a SI.com report (which ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz declined to comment on), the breakup is causing a serious rift co-hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg:
Multiple ESPN staffers, including current and former employees who have had roles with the show, told SI.com last week that the once-warm relationship between partners Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic has turned icy over the last year, prompting a number of ESPNers to predict that the show will conclude long before this December’s contractual end. The sources said Greenberg and Golic are not talking to each other off the set—and hardly at all before the show or during commercial breaks. …
“It’s really a poisonous atmosphere right now,” said one longtime ESPNer who has worked on the show. “Most of us don’t see the show lasting through its contractual end [which is believed to be the end of December]. But I give both these guys immense credit because when the light comes on, you would not know what’s going on. They are pros on air.”
“They are marvelous actors on set,” said another ESPN on-air staffer, who speaks to both Greenberg and Golic. “But they barely even make eye contact with each other these days.”
Yikes. It’s not the first time a pair of big names in the sports world have broken up — or, if those reports are true, had a less than amicable split. Let’s look at some other notable divorces.
1. Mike and the Mad Dog
It sent shockwaves through New York when the pairing of Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was no more in 2008 after 19 years together. But there were listeners all over the country who mourned when Russo moved on to SiriusXM and Francesa hosted solo. Want proof? Look at how excited fans get when there’s any talk of a potential reunion.
2. Bill Simmons and ESPN
There was the rise of the “Sports Guy” to fame and fortune, and the fall in which Simmons accused NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of lying, earning him a suspension, and when he bashed Goodell again a day before ESPN announced their relationship was over in 2015. Simmons followed up by ripping the network repeatedly.
3. Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless
It was actually the sweetest goodbye you’ll ever see from two guys who spent most of their days together screaming at each other. Bayless left First Take in 2016 with kind words and hugs from Smith, and left for FOX Sports 1 and Undisputed.
4. Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa
Hey, it counts! Sports fans everywhere paid close attention in 2016 when ABC gave the Hall of Fame defensive end a job at Good Morning America, taking him away from Live with Kelly and Michael. Reports said co-host Kelly Ripa was angry about the decision.