After ESPN President John Skipper resigned this past December, the rumor mill was abuzz with speculation. It’s no wonder why: his resignation was sudden, and Skipper cited his need to be treated for a “substance addiction” as his reason for leaving.
This was shocking to many ESPN fans. Now, Skipper is in a position to divulge more information on the matter, and man, is it a doozy. Turns out, the former president had actually been blackmailed by one of his cocaine dealers. Skipper had been successful at hiding his addiction up until that point: “I was careful,” he said. “It turned out I wasn’t careful this time.”
Disney CEO Roger Iger and Skipper met to discuss the extortion attempt at the time, and realized that the ESPN president would have to quit to save the company. Now, Skipper wants to use this experience to teach others about the true nature of addiction.
Skipper attributes his ability to hid his cocaine habit to compartmentalization. He said,
In order to do what I did you have to be a master of compartmentalization. Which is why people are going, ‘I don’t understand this.’ Because they have the belief that they can recognize someone who has a problem.
In addition to changing the way people look at and recognize the behavior of addicts, Skipper wants everyone to know that his departure from the channel is not Weinstein-esque. Skipper has not been using and continues to seek treatment for his recovery.