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Olbermann Out at ESPN Months After Penn State-Related Suspension

by on July 09, 2015 10:55 AM

The endless Keith Olbermann career cycle has once again entered the unemployment phase.

ESPN announced on Wednesday that the sports commentator, who hosts a talk show called Olbermann, will not have his contract renewed.

The controversial sports broadcaster, who will part ways with the network at the end of the month, got himself into hot water in February when he made disparaging comments about Penn State.

Olbermann had been critical of the university in relation to the Sandusky scandal. When the Corman lawsuit nullified the consent decree and restored Joe Paterno's vacated wins, Olbermann criticized celebrations over the decision, including a "409" decal that was added to men's hockey helmets.

When a Penn State fan tweeted an article at Olbermann about THON's fundraising total of $13 million for pediatric cancer research in February, the talk show host simply responded: "Pitiful."

That one word quickly picked up steam led to a Twitter war between Olbermann and Penn State supporters over the coming days. Within days, ESPN decided to suspend Olbermann for a week in response to his comments. 

"It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN," the network said in a news release in February. "We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong. ... The annual tradition of THON and the efforts of the students of Penn State to fight pediatric cancer should be applauded."

Olbermann explained that he didn't click through to the article, and instead blindly responded to the THON-related tweet. He apologized both on his show and on the Late Show with David Letterman.

"I just went back at somebody and they weren’t even throwing punches. I wound up sending out what read as a tweet that was somehow opposed to pediatric cancer research,” Olbermann said to Letterman in March. "These are my causes. So my horror at this — when the folks at ESPN said, ‘Tell you what, just stay home a couple days. Let’s let it cool down,’ I went, ‘Thank you.'"

The network is speaking out again, this time to announce its decision not to re-hire Olbermann just two years into his second stint with ESPN. 

"Keith is a tremendous talent who has consistently done timely, entertaining and thought-provoking work since returning to ESPN," the network says in a news release.

"While the show’s content was distinctive and extremely high quality, we ultimately made a business decision to move in another direction," the release says. "We wish Keith nothing but the best and trust that his skill and ability will lead him to another promising endeavor."

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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