Last month, ESPN announced it was eliminating its bi-coastal, 25-person Content Development department, which was responsible for the network's 30 for 30 series, among other things. The head of the group, Keith Clinkscales, ESPN's senior vice president for content, development, and enterprise, left the company to become an independent producer. "This is a more efficient and better model," ESPN's executive vice president for content, John Skipper, told Sports Business Journal.
But shortly before ESPN's announcement, we received an email from the spouse of an upper-level Content Development executive who is leaving ESPN. "This place is a shit show," our tipster wrote. The group, he wrote, had been dissolved to "get rid of" Clinkscales—whose transgressions, we'd learn in subsequent conversations with the tipster and his wife, allegedly included a physical altercation with a co-worker and an incident of masturbation in front of sideline reporter and peeping victim Erin Andrews. Top-level ESPN personnel knew of these incidents, these sources said, but nevertheless kept them quiet.