Keith Olbermann and ESPN president John Skipper said there was no contractual prohibition on politics with Olbermann’s new latenight talkshow, but that politics would come up only as the subject relates to sports.
“This is going to be a sports show, and clearly a sports show,” Skipper said. “Politics and governance and elections are not going to be the subject of a show. There is no prohibition against speaking up when sports runs up against anything else in our culture.
“Trayvon Martin is an excellent example; we expect Keith to have some point of view there. It only has to be responsible.”
Said Olbermann: “The key three or four words about this: It’s a sports show. The idea that I’d want to do anything that is not specifically sports-related … if I wanted to go back into politics, that’s what I would do. But if the House is considering a bill to make PED use a capital offense, we’ll cover it.”
Olbermann also cited other possible examples, such as a hypothetical interview with former President (and noted baseball fan) George W. Bush.
“We’re not going to talk politics (for the sake of politics),” Olbermann said. “I read something about there being a contract clause (related to it). I don’t know where that came from.”
The TV anchor/host also noted that sports has its traditional role as a refuge from politics.
“People do not sort of not notice what I’m doing on television,” he said. “It’s probably my greatest saleable asset. The nature of why people don’t watch might change from time to time. It might be something political, it might be because of a mustache.”
Olbermann says he has spent much of his free time hanging out at baseball stadiums, and that his “guess would be that 5% or less of everyone in baseball would not be described as a conservative, and I never had trouble with any ballplayer.”