Two ESPN Producers Were Suspended for Dumping Out of the Jack Swarbrick Press Conference During Spor

By Jason McIntyre

Remember when Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick hastily called a press conference on Jan. 16th to respond to Deadspin’s Manti Te’o blockbuster? ESPN aired the press conference live, but strangely, about 15 minutes in, decided to dump out and go back to regular Sportscenter. It was a puzzling move, and as sports fans everywhere – gripped by this bizarre saga for about three hours at this point – scrambled online to watch it, ESPN came back to the press conference live a few minutes later.

Why’d they leave it in the first place?

To this point, that remains unclear. But sources tell me that two of the men behind the decision – producer Eric Smith and coordinating producer Bernie Ritter – were suspended for a day for that decision. ESPN refused comment about this last night and this morning.

If you haven’t noticed, ESPN is being very, very protective of this entire Manti Te’o story timeline. After we were the first to report that ESPN indeed was aware of the story before it broke, the WWL offered up suits on the record to SI and the New York Times to defend their actions. Unusual? Maybe. Aggressive? Certainly. A more cynical media observer might wonder what the full court press is all about.