Readers respond to Keith Olbermann's "ESPN: Mea Culpa."

By Salon Staff
Published November 22, 2002 4:21AM (UTC)
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[Read the column.]

Hey, I don't know if Keith ever reads these but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

I just wanted to say that I miss seeing you and Dan [Patrick] on the air together. You guys were the ultimate duo. Along with the Kenny Mayne-Rich Eisen tandem, you made "SportsCenter" fun to watch. Nowadays I struggle to sit through an entire 60- or 90-minute show without falling asleep or tuning out entirely. More and more often I find myself tuning into ESPN news. I watch for 30 minutes to find out the basics and turn the TV off.


I respect your career decisions and still greatly admire you as a journalist. But please know that you are missed. You helped ESPN shine, and in a way they did the same for you.

Best of luck in all your endeavors. But should your path ever lead you back to ESPN, even on a part-time basis, I dare say that many people would be thrilled to see you return. Myself included.

-- Tim Agla


Wow. That was really impressive. You guys really want to know what impresses people -- women too? A real man who knows how to apologize, who gives everything enough thought to know what he's apologizing about -- and to what extent he needs to apologize -- and then does it at the necessary length. And then doesn't congratulate himself for doing the decent thing at the end. Thats impressive.

-- Kate Eisenhauer

Keith, I love your work, but get over yourself.


-- Larry Robb

I'm a great admirer of Keith Olbermann and his career, particularly his departure from MSNBC after becoming disgusted with having to report on Monica Lewinsky's stained dress day after day. His current role, as keeper of the Howard Cosell "Speaking of Everything" flame on ABC Radio, suits him well.


That said, I see he is resorting to the time-tested politician's use of the passive voice in his apologia: "It should have been done differently. It wasn't." As if some outside force, not Mr. Olbermann himself, handled the situation badly.

I would have thought far more of his apology if he had ended his mea culpa by being upfront and saying, "I should have done it differently. I didn't."

-- Jill Cozzi


The adage goes that it takes a big man to admit when he is wrong. That was one heck of a piece (perhaps peace?) you made. Made my day to know that people are willing to admit to mistakes and then move on. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

-- Lee Hoffman

Great story/tirade/ramble. I just have one question. Why, uh, did you leave?


-- Miguel Durón

As someone who has taken cheap potshots at you from the safety of my couch, I want to tell you how much my estimation of you has risen with that last article. True apologizing is a rare occurrence these days. It's as if the word "but" is permanently welded onto the back of the word "sorry." To stand up and accept what you did wrong, as you did, is amazing. I hope that this will be a lesson to me.

-- Michael Turner

America's overwhelming reaction to Keith Olbermann's admission on why he left ESPN: "Who cares?"


-- Lawrence Stein

I fancy myself one of "the three of you who got that" throwaway Bert Emanuel Kant quip on some forgotten Sunday night "Big Show."

I cried when Keith shook Dan's hand at the end. And I'm as guilty of doing the same kind of salting-the-earth that he did toward the end. You're not the first guy to subconsciously sabotage a job when it was driving you nuts, and you won't be the last. You just had a better job than I ever will to do it to.

This fan forgives you for not being perfect. Keith, we're all human -- spinal mutations notwithstanding.


-- Rafe Brox

I can only hope (for my own selfish reasons) that this essay of yours might help pave the way for a reconciliation between you and ESPN. In certain respects, it seems almost tailored that way. I would love to see you back in that venue, even if on the limited schedule you seem to be pitching. Hell, Keith, my wife and I actually fell in love during many of your ESPN "Big Shows" back in the mid-'90s. It was when I realized that she was laughing as loudly as I was at your brilliantly erudite quips and the once-in-a-lifetime repartee between you and Dan Patrick that I knew I had someone special on my hands. We still love "SportsCenter," but damn, it just ain't never the same.

Anyway, congratulations once again. At the very least, you've done yourself -- and your karma -- a good turn.

-- Ty Wenger


I don't get cable, I'm not into sports, and I only vaguely remember something about the cool Wendy's commercial guy leaving ESPN. But Keith Olbermann's piece about his departure mesmerized and touched me. Don't second-guess yourself for writing this piece, Keith. The world needs more self-reflection and humility like you've shown here. In a culture of arrogance and inflated self-regard, I want to thank you for showing us how to say "I'm sorry" with dignity.

-- Maryann Gorman

Salon Staff

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