Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The "Runt" Is Fired

ESPN fired Trev Alberts on Sunday after the college football analyst failed to show up for work at ESPN's studios in Bristol, Conn.
"He phoned and said that he wasn't going to show up," Mark Shapiro, ESPN's Vice President of Programming and Production, told SI.com on Tuesday night, "and when he didn't, he was in breach of his contract and we terminated him."
Alberts, a former All-American defensive end at Nebraska and member of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, was embarking on his fourth season as part of ESPN's popular College Football Scoreboard and College Football Gameday team. But on Sunday morning, in the midst of college football's first big weekend of the season, Alberts phoned ESPN's coordinating producer of college football, Ed Placey, and voiced his discontent.
"He phoned us and told us that he was unhappy with his role on College GameDay," said Shapiro. "He felt that he was playing second fiddle."
As the day wore on, according to both Shapiro and Alberts, there were several conversations between Alberts and ESPN senior vice presidents Jed Drake and Norby Williamson. Finally, Alberts announced that he would not be reporting for work that afternoon (ESPN and ESPN2 aired three college football games between 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.). Once Alberts failed to appear for his studio show assignment with host Rece Davis and fellow analyst Mark May, he was fired.
"They first wanted me to resign," Alberts said on Tuesday night from his Atlanta home. "Then they fired me. I obviously have a serious problem with the word 'breach', but that's something my attorney will work out."
Alberts joined ESPN's studio show in 2002 after five years of working in a similar capacity at CNN/SI. Cantankerous, passionate and opinionated, Alberts often feuded with May about issues relating to the sport, but the feud never turned (or even appeared to seem) personal. Davis played the role of genial arbitrator to a tee.
"We were just trying to be three guys in a frat house talking football," said Alberts.