Adam Schefter’s gaffes haven’t cost him money: John Skipper

Adam Schefter has had a few high profile gaffes recently, but he was not hurt by them financially.

That’s according to former ESPN president John Skipper, who spoke about the matter on Meadowlark Media’s “South Beach Sessions” podcast with Dan Le Batard and former Marlins president David Samson.

In the conversation, which delves into sports media behind the scenes, they mentioned Schefter’s salary, which The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported as being in the vicinity of $9 million a year.

“Absolutely,” Skipper said, when asked if he would’ve paid that money for Schefter, plus $7 million a year for NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“Schefter has 9-10 million followers. That’s valuable. What’s valuable to ESPN? Sports rights and news. That’s their business.”

Samson talked about how gamblers, fantasy players, normal fans and people who just want to be conversant in sports are gravitating towards Woj and Schefter for intel.

“It was so valuable to ESPN that there’s no way they were going to leave that show for a gambling network,” Samson said, on a show sponsored by DraftKings. “It was all just done to try to get more money, and given the numbers, I’d have to say they did a good job with Jimmy [Pitaro, ESPN’s chairman].”

Skipper agreed that it was a “good piece of business. They’re valuable to ESPN, who paid what they need to to keep them.”

Le Batard asked if, journalistically, there should have been qualms with ESPN paying that money to Schefter, given the several high profile incidents of “ethical conundrums and bad form” he has apologized for in the past year.

“I don’t think it cost him anything financially, the issues that he had,” Skipper said.

Adam Schefter signed a deal with ESPN that The Post's Andrew Marchand reported is worth $9 million a year.
Adam Schefter signed a deal with ESPN that The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported is worth $9 million a year.
Getty Images

Earlier this month, Schefter apologized for saying that Dwayne Haskins struggled as an NFL player in announcing the former quarterback’s death via getting run over on a highway in Florida.

“I wish I could have that tweet back,” Schefter said on his podcast. “The focus should have been on Dwayne — who he was as a person, a husband, a friend and so much more. I wanted to apologize to Dwayne’s family, his friends, the players in the NFL and offer my condolences to everyone close to Dwayne.”

This tweet came after his new ESPN deal had been finalized.

Former ESPN president John Skipper said that Adam Schefter's gaffes have not cost him financially.
Former ESPN president John Skipper said that Adam Schefter’s gaffes have not cost him financially.
Getty Images for Fast Company

In October, Schefter apologized for sending a full story to former Washington Commanders GM Bruce Allen a decade ago to review facts on the NFL lockout, calling him “Mr. Editor.” The email was unearthed by the Los Angeles Times after it had been discovered in the league’s investigation into the franchise’s workplace misconduct.

“Fair questions are being asked about my reporting approach on an NFL lockout story from 10 years ago,” Schefter said in a statement released through ESPN PR. “Just to clarify, it’s common practice to verify facts of a story with source before you publish in order to be as accurate as possible. In this care, I took the rare step of sending the full story in advance because of the complex nature of the collective bargaining talks.”

In November, Schefter had been accused of “journalistic malpractice” by the attorney of a woman who accused Dalvin Cook of domestic violence.

Schefter’s initial tweet on the matter conveyed Cook’s side of the story but not the accuser’s, in quoting Cook’s agent as saying the Vikings running back was a victim of domestic abuse and extortion.

“In a case like this, it’s important to reach out to all sides for information and comment,” Schefter said on “SportsCenter.” “When I got the information the other night, I didn’t do that. I could have done a better job reaching out to the other people, especially on a story as sensitive and as significant as this. Didn’t do that properly and it’s a reminder to slow down in this world.”

This past March, Schefter received blowback for his wording of a tweet when a Texas grand jury decided not to charge Deshaun Watson in connection with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by massage therapists.

“This is why Deshaun Watson, from the beginning, welcomed a police investigation: He felt he knew that the truth would come out,” Schefter tweeted. “And today, a grand jury did not charge him on any of the criminal complaints.”

Schefter apologized for his choice of words.

“This was a poorly worded tweet that deserves a proper response. It was intended to provide insight into the strategy of Watson’s legal team from its POV,” he wrote. “I should have been clearer. As legal experts have explained, a lack of an indictment alone does not mean someone is innocent.”

In between the gaffes, Schefter has been a scoop machine. He was first to report Watson had been traded to the Browns. He is a dynamic talent on television, where he fills countless hours of airtime throughout the year. ESPN would have had an enormously hard time replacing him, and he is also known internally for treating colleagues with kindness and respect.

Skipper worked at ESPN for 20 years, joining as an SVP at ESPN the Magazine in 1997, and working his way up to president of the company by 2012. He resigned in 2017, citing substance addiction. Skipper later told ESPN book author Jim Miller that he was a victim in a cocaine extortion plot.

After spending about 2.5 years as the chairman of the streaming service DAZN, Skipper launched Meadowlark Media with Le Batard in early 2021.



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