Colin Cowherd has been one of the most popular ESPN radio hosts around the last few years. Whether you love him or hate him, he has been getting ratings from every part of the country. Recently, it was announced that ESPN would not be renewing his contract. And it was later discovered that Cowherd would be moving on to Fox Sports after his contract was over. But before he moved on, his contract had to be fulfilled at the four-letter network. It was set to expire this year sometime, but then came the comments from Colin Cowherd this week. On his daily show, Cowherd was discussing baseball and why he believed it was not a complex sports and had this to say: “It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.” When he said these words, a firestorm started. Dominican baseball players were offended by his comments, as it basically indicated that Dominicans were not smart. But Dominican baseball players were not the only ones disturbed by his comments. They were reckless comments that had no place on air at all. And it is because of that, ESPN decided to cut ties with him a little earlier than they planned to. Cowherd is now gone from the four-letter network a little more unceremoniously than he thought he would be. And even though he is getting a pay raise and a new platform at Fox Sports, this will undoubtedly be something that will follow him for a while just like his constant criticism of Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
This kind of outburst from Cowherd should not come as any surprise to many that are aware of his antics. Some tend to love what he does while others tend to love to hate him. But in this instance, it could have been a calculated chance for Cowherd to test ESPN on how much they wanted him to satisfy his contract. If he was able to survive this, then there is no telling how much he would have pushed until ESPN finally said enough was enough. Or on the flip side, he was going to get fired from a job that he was already getting ready to leave. The calculated move is going to hurt Cowherd in the short term. But in the long-term, this move allows him to prepare himself for the stage he has waiting for him on Fox Sports. While some may think it may be the right move for Cowherd to face some issues with his contract on Fox Sports, the reality is they will not be firing him before he starts. But let the fire get hotter over there over some controversial statements while he is just getting accustomed to things over there, and there is always the possibility of him ending up out of a job. The life of a radio host is one with great risk and great reward. You could be great and received greatly one moment and the next moment you could be walking out of the studio without your job. Whatever the case, Cowherd is now gone and the spot he now occupied is wide open. But who’s up next in his spot? No one knows but there are a couple recommendations that could take his place.
Bomani Jones has been an opinionated guy that has sparked conversation in both good and bad instances on the four-letter network. Currently he is the host of The Right Time With Bomani Jones four nights a week, co-host for Highly Questionable with Dan Le Batard and has his own podcast called The Evening Jones. His knowledge, strong opinions and stances would be something that would fit perfectly in the midday slot that Cowherd was inhabiting. Of course it would require some juggling of talents to replace him at his night slot, but with the talents that ESPN has, that can be rectified. Jones can be someone that can be polarizing to some and can be likeable at the same time. That would be something that would provide ESPN with the same type of ratings that Cowherd had over time. And for Jones, this move would be something that could boost his career even more. Of course ESPN has to make the decision to move him to this slot first and that does not look like it could happen right now. But there is another ESPN personality that may be able to slide into that slot. Cari Champion has been the mediator of First Take between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. Recently, she was promoted from that show and landed on SportsCenter as an anchor. But many do not know that Champion actually has her own podcast as well. Be Honest with Cari Champion has been something that has been weekly done on and could be something ESPN could grow into something more. She is talented, smart and knows her way in the sports world. And even though Bomani Jones is used to being seen on television, Champion would bring in viewers when she is in the studio and on television as well. The biggest issue with this move for her would be how she would balance being on SportCenter and doing her show. The toll on her could be exhausting and it could wear her down. In this situation, she may eventually end up having to choose which one she likes more: radio or television. But just like Jones, ESPN has to extend the offer first.
Both Jones and Champion are talented enough to make it happen in place of Colin Cowherd. And even though it may seem to some that Cowherd’s shoes cannot be filled right now, it will happen eventually. As for Cowherd, he now has a vacation before he gets started working at Fox Sports. He got his payday and his new platform. But can he create the same buzz (both good and bad) that he did at ESPN over at Fox Sports? Only time will tell, but he is now free to leave after saying those comments he said. Those comments were wrong and disparaging, but Colin already had his new deal in place to begin with. He will continue to go on, much to the chagrin of many that love to hate him.