ESPN Instructs On-Air Talent To Avoid Talking Politics During Election Year


ESPN sent a memo to staffers on Wednesday urging its on-air talent (and some contract employees) to avoid being “influenced by political pressures” as the November election approaches.

The memo, which was flagged by Deadspin on Wednesday, was first posted on the company’s corporate blog about two weeks ago.

The memo tells employees that “we should refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns (including but not limited to on platforms such as Twitter or other social media).”

Exceptions were granted to staffers at FiveThirtyEight, the Nate Silver-founded property that regularly covers politics and sports using data.

ESPN recently waded into political commentary when analyst and former MLB star pitcher Curt Schilling retweeted a meme likening Muslims to Nazis. Schilling was later suspended.

If an employee is covering a candidate who appears at a game or live event, they are to avoid “political commentary or prolonged references,” according to the memo.