Steve Phillips Gets Canned From ESPN

Last week, we told you the saga of ESPN baseball analyst and “Sunday Night Baseball” commentator Steve Phillips, who had a three-night stand with a production assistant and then ditched her, sending her into a tailspin of crazy, leaving notes for Phillips’ wife on his doorstep and befriending his teenage son via Facebook. Oh, but the plot thickens. Late last week, the NY Daily News discovered that Brooke Hundley, the girl in question, had actually filed a restraining order against Phillips, saying in the paperwork that that she was in “an immediate and present physical danger” and that Phillips said he “could easily get me fired” and would “ruin more than my reputation.” Yesterday, ESPN officially fired Phillips. They released a statement saying, “His ability to be an effective representative for ESPN has been significantly and irreparably damaged, and it became evident it was time to part ways.”Not to mention the fact that this isn’t Phillips’ first case of being a total skeeze. When he was general manager of the Mets in the late ’90s, an employee accused him of sexual harassment and another said that they’d had an affair. He was forced to take a leave of absence. This time around, Phillips will be heading to counseling. “Steve Phillips is voluntarily admitting himself to an inpatient treatment facility to address his personal issues,” his agent said. [NY Times]

The details of this case are something out of a soap opera—who knows if it’s Phillips who is crazy, if it’s Hundley who is off her rocker, or if it’s a combination of both. But what’s interesting to me here is that a major corporation let an employee go over an affair. Guys in power positions constantly have sex and hit on younger employees—hello, David Letterman. Yes, it’s a misuse of a power differential, especially if the superior then tries to strong-arm the newbie with the threat of being fired. But then again, the subordinates are adults who can make their own decisions about whom they sleep with. So what do you think? Should people in power positions be fired for having inappropriate relationships with interns and junior staffers?

Oh, and do you think ESPN would have fired him if the story hadn’t made a huge cannonball splash in the media? Or were they just trying to save face?