Q & A: ‘Inside the World of ESPN’ author James Andrew Miller

Favorite part?

Miller called the Limbaugh-McNabb section one of his favorite parts in the entire book.

“He [Limbaugh] was really honest and forthcoming. You get two fundamentally different positions.”

How did you get all the interviews?

“It’s not easy. Some people were quite reticent. Some people said no for awhile. Some people I interviewed, then had to interview them again because they weren’t that forthcoming at first.”

What are you proudest of?

“Getting it done. Like climbing Everest on a cold day in your shorts.”

Miller’s ‘what to take’
from book

Miller calls his book a current and comprehensive oral history of ESPN.
These are the four things he wants readers to take from the book:

1 A keen understanding of how and why ESPN got to be so successful.

2 A sense of what it’s like to work there.

3 What some of the key moments were, and how they responded to some of
the forks in the road.

4 To have fun. There are some funny people that work at that place and
it’s all there on the pages.

TOP EXCERPTS

1 “It became like a big frat party,” former ESPN general counsel Andy Brilliant says in the book. “There were a lot of drugs done in the bathroom. There was quite a bit of screwing going on afterward, a lot of extramarital. But everybody went back to business the next workday.”

2 Michelle Beadle on the Erin Andrews: peep-hole incident: “Sometimes these things turn out better for people.” Beadle recently admitted she doesn’t like Andrews.

3 “ESPN basically has to have one of their talent talk about Hitler or put a picture of their d–k on a phone — which is what that Salisbury guy did — before they’ll do anything about any of these various crazies, because they don’t have to. Nobody can touch them,” says Dick Ebersol, the former head of NBC Sports.

4 Remember when Rush Limbaugh claimed Donovan McNabb was overrated because he was a black quarterback? The book dedicates nearly 11 pages to the flare-up. Tom Jackson had threatened to quit if action wasn’t taken against Limbaugh.

“When I listened to people talk about McNabb on all the networks, I had a sense they were pulling for him in an affirmative-action kind of way,” says Limbaugh.

“And at the end of the whole segment that caused all the controversy, if you listen to it all the way through, you’ll hear Michael Irvin say, ‘Rush is right.’ Those are the last words. There were no other comments about that for the rest of the show.” –Miller


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