ESPN: Worldwide leader in … shameless debauchery

A new book documents the good times that flowed in Bristol, Conn., at ESPN. Chris Berman (left), here with Rick Reilly, takes a particularly hard beating.

For “Those Guys Have All the Fun:?Inside the World of ESPN,” authors James?Andrew Miller and Tom Shales spent three years interviewing 500 past and current ESPN executives, plus on-air personalities, to take readers inside the network’s inner sanctum.

They’ll see plenty of juicy stuff when the book hits stores tomorrow.

In the book, which bills itself as a comprehensive history of ESPN, one former executive recalls secretaries hooking in a nearby apartment and employees selling marijuana in the newsroom. And when the cameras shut off for the night, there were parties that might make Tiger Woods blush.

“The company would have Christmas parties up at some horrible place in Bristol [Conn.]. A couple of them were drunken orgies,” former ESPN general counsel Andy Brilliant says in the book.

Keith Olbermann was a certified diva. Michelle Beadle and Erin Andrews went at each other like snubbed beauty-pageant contestants.

And Chris Berman — the grand poo-bah, according to Tony Kornheiser — was a jerk.

“The No. 1 thing that surprised me about ESPN was how little team spirit there was for a place that said that its business was sports,” anchor Jack Edwards reflects in the book.

What remains is a 748-page thrill ride, that some at ESPN may not want you to read.

On the same team

In the book, Bill Sim­mons speaks out on his two-week sus­pension for violating ESPN’s social-media policy when he slam­med WEEI, which was a partner of ESPN at the time.

“I have a thick skin,” Simmons said, “and I’m totally used to getting killed by people, but this is our alleged partner, and they have on their website that I’m the fraud of the week, and you guys have done nothing. I escalated things inten­tionally to make them look at it and have meetings about it and f—ing waste their day. That made me happy.”

On Olbermann

Keith Olbermann was the first real diva at the network. Problem was, he was damn good.

At one point, he calculated what he thought his salary should be — $2.75 million a year — and showed it to bosses. The top “SportsCenter” salary in, the mid-1990s had been $310,000.

A frat house

In the book, former anchor Karie Ross talks about sexual harassment that ran rampant in the late ’80s. She stood up in the cafeteria and told her co-workers it had to stop.

“The things that I remember were guys patting the girls, telling them they looked sexy in that dress, and a lot of verbal stuff,” Ross said.


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