ESPN college football writer Bruce Feldman was suspended indefinitely during a conference call with three ESPN officials this morning.
ESPN Vice President and Director of News Vince Doria, ESPN THE MAGAZINE Editor-in-Chief & ESPN Books Editorial Director Gary Hoenig, and ESPN.com Editor-in-Chief Pat Stiegman participated in the conference call and were behind the decision to punish Feldman.
Doria, Hoenig and Stiegman informed Feldman today that he has been banned from writing for any ESPN entity, is forbidden from appearing on any ESPN platform, is not allowed to Tweet from his Twitter account nor participate in any promotion of a recently-released book in which Feldman played a role.
Well before Mike Leach was terminated by Texas Tech in late 2009, Feldman had agreed in principle to assist the coach in compiling material for a Leach biography. That biography, in which Feldman was mostly charged with recording Leach’s first-person account of his life, was released this week with the title, Swing Your Sword.
Because of Leach’s acrimonious departure from Texas Tech, which allegedly stemmed from complaints about the coach’s alleged treatment of the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James, Feldman’s participation in Swing Your Sword was not initially assured.
Multiple management and editorial sources at ESPN have told me in recent months that Feldman would only participate in the Leach book project upon direct approval from ESPN management - which Feldman indeed received.
Since the book was released on Monday, Feldman has deliberately avoided any personal promotion or mention of the Leach book. (You will find no mention of the book on Feldman’s Twitter account and ESPN blog.)
Despite those facts, Feldman was told by ESPN executives Doria, Hoenig and Stiegman today that he was being suspended indefinitely for his participation in the Leach book.