The sports-culture site Deadspin has posted no new content — including any coverage of the Washington Nationals historic win in the World Series during Wednesday’s Game 7 — as of Thursday morning following a staff revolt that decimated its ranks.
The G/O Media site, bought by a private equity firm from Univision six months ago, had a mass exodus of staff on Wednesday as at least seven reporters and editors resigned following the firing of top editor Barry Petchesky the day before for failing to heed the new owners’ directive to focus exclusively on sports content.
Columnist Drew Magary announced Thursday morning he too had resigned, raising the total number of departures — and lowering the number of people who could update the barren homepage.
“Eight staff members resigned yesterday,” a representative for G/O Media confirmed on Thursday, later adding, “That number did not include Drew, who resigned this AM.” It’s unclear how many employees remain on the site; the rep had no comment on the site’s future publishing plans.
As of Thursday morning, the last and most recent post on Deadspin recommends “candies to stress eat” during Game 7, posted Wednesday at 3:29 p.m. ET, and one of a series of staff-written culture posts only tangentially related to sports coverage filed in protest of management’s new directive.
Petchesky’s dismissal came two months after former editor-in-chief Megan Greenwell resigned from her position, in part, because of similar verbal demands from G/O Media leadership that Deadspin only cover sports. Diana Moskovitz, a senior editor at the site, also announced on Tuesday that she was resigning: “What happened today — and everything that preceded it — are among the reasons I decided to move on.”
Backlash to the “stick to sports” edict came to an initial head on Monday, when G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment sent a memo — first obtained by the Daily Beast — to Deadspin staffers, putting into writing that Deadspin’s reporters and editors “write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”
The latest statement from G/O Media came Thursday afternoon and defends the “stick to sports” mandate:
In September, unsurprisingly, 24 of the top 25 stories on Deadspin were sports-related while non-sports content accounted for less than 1 percent of the page views on the site. Given those facts, we simply believe it makes sense to focus attention and resources on even more sports coverage to serve our readers what they want. While amusing, our readers haven’t actually come to Deadspin for stories like ‘Classic Rock, Ranked,’ or ‘You’re Goddamn Right It’s Layering Season,’ or ‘It’s OK to Logoff.’ Sports touches nearly every aspect of life. Our writers have a free hand to cover the intersection of sports and politics, sports and pop culture, sports and business, or, frankly, just about any topic even tangentially related to sports.
Features editor Tom Ley, news editor Bill Haisley and staff writers Laura Wagner, Lauren Theisen, Patrick Redford, Chris Thompson, Kelsey McKinney, and Albert Burneko announced on Twitter that they were quitting the site within minutes of each another.
Based on a staff directory available on Deadspin’s website, four out of five top editors at the site have either resigned or been fired, and more than half of the site’s 10 staff writers have quit since Petchesky was fired on Tuesday.