No, Chris Russell isn’t leaving ESPN 980


(Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

I think you’d agree that Wednesday was a decently busy sports day in Washington. The Caps were reeling from their worst loss of the season. The Nats — with an oddball lineup — improved to 2-0. The Redskins signed Ryan Clark, and also this other guy named Jackson or something. The Wizards clinched their first playoff spot since 2008. Lots going on.

(Sit down for a minute.)

And the D.C. Sports Bog’s most-read item — by a million miles — was the thing about Chris Russell having promised to quit his job at ESPN 980 if DeSean Jackson signed in D.C. In fact, that was one of the five most-read sports items on the entire Washington Post site. This is the complete truth. Just goes to show you, no one ever lost his job by overestimating the demand for sports-talk radio transcripts.

(That I know of.)

And so, here’s the update you’ve been waiting for. Wednesday morning, after Jackson signed, Russell broke down the news with Andy Pollin on his Sports Reporters program, which had moved from SportsTalk 570 to ESPN 980 for the day. Then Pollin brought up the hot-take elephant in the room.

“One little quick bit of business. You may have heard Chris Russell say this last week,” Pollin said, and then played the Russell audio.

Here’s one thing I feel good about, listen. And I’ll say this on the radio. And [Chuck] Sapienza might get mad at me, but I’ll quit if the Redskins sign DeSean Jackson, ok?

“Now, obviously Chris Russell hasn’t quit; he’s with us here,” Pollin said. “Good morning, Chris.”

Then Russell came on, and made an announcement: he had decided to “be a man of my word” and “tender my resignation.”

“You know, it’s been an interesting last four years, I can tell you that,” Russell said. “I would say this, I’ve had a lot of support, a LOT of support. And I have a lot of critics and a lot of people that don’t like my opinions on a lot of things. So I just appreciate everybody listening. And it’s been fun to be on with you and with everybody else, so thank you Andy.”

Then he said good-bye.

Then Pollin tried to sell the bit.

Then everyone tweeted me.

And then, finally, the station tweeted this.

So no, Chris Russell did not quit his job.

“He said something that he regretted so we tried to turn a negative into a positive by having fun with it,” Sapienza wrote. “Most people had fun with the entire situation. Chris is going to volunteer his time to raising money and awareness for DeSean’s foundation (for pancreatic cancer research), so it’s over as far as I’m concerned. It was Chris’s idea to have fun with it. He can poke fun at himself more than most of the media, who tend to take themselves too seriously.”

So that’s that. Chris Russell didn’t quit. He won’t be quitting next week, either. And for real, if you have any inclination at all to be outraged about this, I’d recommend a walk outside and maybe a donut or pastry. Life is too short to get upset over sports-talk radio promises.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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