A report published by the Boston Globe shed light on misbehavior by two prominent ESPN hosts, as the ever-increasing number of sexual misconduct allegations continues to make waves in sports media.
A former ESPN host filed a formal complaint against SportsCenter host John Buccigross for unwanted advances via text, and fantasy football expert Matthew Berry was revealed to be the one who took an unwitting Jenn Sterger to a strip club while she was interviewing for a job.
Adrienne Lawrence & John Buccigross
“ESPN has failed to address its deeply ingrained culture of sexism and hostile treatment of women,” the complaint filed by Adrienne Lawrence against Buccigross read. She filed the complaint in August.
Lawrence is a former lawyer who worked at ESPN from 2015 through summer 2017.
Among the complaints Lawrence cited were issues with Buccigross.
Lawrence said she viewed him as a mentor, but said he sent her unsolicited shirtless photographs of himself, and called her names such as “dollface,” “dreamgirl,” and “longlegs.”
She said she tried to ignore the messages, but at one point told Buccigross “You need to wear clothes, sir.”
Lawrence complained to ESPN officials about rumors that she was in a relationship with Buccigross, but she said her supervisor told her to drop the matter. Lawrence also said ESPN retaliated against her by denying her a permanent position at the network, although ESPN denies she was ever guaranteed such a position.
Buccigross confirmed that he did send the photos to Lawrence, but denies starting rumors.
“I considered Adrienne to be a friend," Buccigross told the Boston Globe. “I’m sorry if anything I did or said offended Adrienne. It certainly wasn’t my intent.”
Lawrence plans to sue in federal court over the situation.
ESPN responded to the claims Thursday:
“We conducted a thorough investigation and found these claims to be entirely without merit. Ms. Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told that her contract would not be renewed at the conclusion of the training program. At that same time, ESPN also told 100 other talent with substantially more experience, that their contracts would not be renewed. The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”
Jenn Sterger & Matthew Berry
Berry was revealed in the story to be the ESPN personality who took Sterger to a strip club while both were candidates for jobs in 2006.
Berry got his job, but Sterger did not, even though both were admonished by ESPN for going to the strip club.
Berry told the Globe on Thursday that he regretted going to the strip club, and he apologized for a picture from that night of him pointing at Sterger’s breasts.