“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” Skipper said in a statement. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”
George Bodenheimer will serve as acting chairman while Disney, ESPN’s parent company, searches for a replacement. Skipper’s resignation was a move that shocked the media world, not least of all Skipper’s own employees, many of whom took to social media to applaud his past work and to support him in his decision to focus on his battle with substance abuse.
“SC6” co-host Jemele Hill wrote on Twitter, “John Skipper is one of the finest people I’ve ever worked for. He’s been incredibly supportive throughout my career at ESPN. This isn’t company-speak. I seriously cannot express how much respect I have for him.”
“I am truly saddened by this,” wrote ESPN reporter Michele Steele. “All and only the best to John and his family as he takes on this challenge – one that so many deal with in silence.”
ESPN anchor Lisa Kerney tweeted that she was “shocked and saddened” by Skipper’s departure, adding that he “always made time for me and made sure my voice was heard.” “A man I truly respect and admire in this industry and as a person,” she said.
Other media figures, including those who used to work at ESPN, also sent well-wishes to Skipper. Keith Olbermann, who left ESPN in 2015, wrote that he was “literally shaking learning he was in such place.” “This is devastating news about John Skipper,” he tweeted. “I enjoyed working with him as much as anybody I’ve ever known and our friendship has continued.”
See more reactions from ESPN staffers and other media figures below.