ESPN Has a Decision to Make After Ryen Russillo Arrest
The official ESPN update on Ryen Russillo has not changed over the past 24 hours. Said an ESPN spokesperson on Thursday afternoon: “We are looking into it."
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that Russillo, the host of his own ESPN Radio show and a longtime front-facing ESPN employee, was found naked in a stranger’s condo in Jackson, Wyoming around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. He was charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $750. The paper reported Russillo was released Thursday on his own recognizance, and that no jail time was set. The details are here.
Russillo has worked for ESPN since 2009 and was the co-host of ESPN Radio’s popular SVP & Russillo show before Scott Van Pelt moved to television fulltime.
If this is the extent of the legal issues, ESPN management now has a decision on its hands regarding discipline. In talking with staffers inside and outside of ESPN on Wednesday, the expectation is Russillo will be suspended by the company for a period of time. No decision had been made given management had yet to talk to Russillo as of last night. But Russillo has supporters in upper management, including ESPN executive vice present of content Connor Schell. His contract is also not immediately up. Russillo is known in-house as someone willing to work when asked, and has handled partner changes, time slot changes, and management showing other shows much more love as professional as one can in those circumstances.
An ESPN colleague close to Russillo predicted that if given the opportunity on air, he would be fully transparent about what happened in Jackson. The likelihood is he will get that opportunity.