It may not be the most obvious question regarding the Steve Phillips scandal — that, one suspects, would have to be “What in the world were you thinking, man?” — but it’s one worth considering nonetheless:
Does Phillips, who has taken a leave of absence from his duties as an ESPN baseball analyst in the aftermath of the revelation of his sordid relationship with 22-year-old production assistant Brooke Hundley, have any credibility remaining once he returns to the airwaves?
This morning, we spoke to Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio as well as Jason McIntyre, editor of another tremendously popular blog, The Big Lead, to get their perspectives.
Both blogs played a significant role in driving the story yesterday, with Deadspin perhaps pushing it too far. Daulerio chose to publish unsourced rumors and allegations regarding other ESPN personalities and personnel in part because the network did not respond to a previous request regarding a tip about Phillips’s conduct.
As it is, here is what they said regarding Phillips’s future:
Daulerio “I think he could [come back], sure. I mean, it’s not going to happen during baseball season, but what happened yesterday, admitting he was wrong and taking a leave of absence, was a good first step. Now he just needs to move on, go away for a while, come back next year, and people will probably forget about it as soon as the next scandal comes along.”
McIntyre:“That’s a tough one. I don’t see why he can’t, though. He didn’t commit a crime; he cheated on his wife. This isn’t a situation in which he was charged with sexual harassment or anything like that. By all accounts, it was consensual, like the [David] Letterman situation. He’ll do his time away, come back, and unless there’s something more to this, he’ll return to his previous job.”
We’ll have more on the Phillips situation in the media column in tomorrow’s Globe.