Deadspin began publishing again Thursday night, four days ahead of its scheduled relaunch, because “the news cycle — and the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic — wouldn’t wait for such plans,” according to new editor-in-chief Jim Rich.
The relaunched version of the site, which saw a mass staff exodus in the fall of 2019, started off with an exclusive interview with the NFL’s Eric Reid on how the NFL’s proposed collective bargaining agreement “reduces player safety benefits & guts disability benefits.” A handful of other posts about coronavirus-related sporting cancelations also cropped up on the site.
The exodus last fall came after deputy editor and interim editor-in-chief Barry Petchesky announced on Twitter that he had been fired for “not sticking to sports.” Leadership at G/O Media had issued a memo to staff that Monday, emphasizing that the site’s “sole focus” would be on sports content — and only on sports. By the end of the week, no staffers remained at the popular sports and culture site.
“I have no sense of constraint,” Rich told TheWrap of the mandate after his hiring in January. “When it comes to my editorial vision here — which is the reason that I took the job — anybody who knows me and has followed any of my work throughout my career knows that I’m the farthest thing from a stick-to-sports sort of guy. Moving forward and until something changes, I’m going to go at all of these issues and all of these stories with no limit.”