Dan Patrick On His “Abusive” Relationship With ESPN Management: “I Was Scared”

  • Dan Fogarty

Today, Jim Miller, co-author of the new ESPN book Those Guys Have All the Fun, appeared on the Dan Patrick Show to talk about his oral history of the Worldwide Leader. And while Miller was there to be interviewed, the best parts of the spot were when he was the one asking the questions.

Miller asked Patrick why a talented (and, one would presume, sought after) on-air personality like him would spend so much time in a place where he wasn’t happy. The answer, Patrick says, lied in management’s concerted effort to belittle the talent in Bristol.

“They mentally beat you up. They put Keith [Olbermann] and myself in a corner,” he said. “But here’s your boss, when I go in for a negotiation, says to me, ‘You’re over the hill and you’ll never get another job in this business if you leave ESPN.”

The picture Patrick painted of mid-90s ESPN is one where management plays on the insecurities of its talent, convincing them that outside the walls of ESPN, they’re nothing.

“Why didn’t you look [former executive Mark Shapiro] in the face and say, ‘I think you’re dead wrong and to hell with you and I’m out of here?'” Miller asked.

“I wanted to kick his ass, I did want to fight him.” Patrick replied. “You know what? I was scared. I had my wife and my kids and I was scared.”