ESPN shut down last month Kelly Stewart as a betting analyst and featured her on her Daily Wager podcast and other elements of her sports betting coverage. They have since separated from her. According to a report by Front Office Sports’ AJ Perez and Michael McCarthy, it revolves around their previous tweets, including 2012 homophobic slander and more recent tweets denying the effects of COVID-19 and discussing its “effects” (sic). Here’s more of that Front Office Sports article:
Betting analyst Kelly Stewart is on ESPN just a month after the network announced her hiring.
An ESPN spokesman confirmed that Stewart was no longer on the network on Friday. Sources tell Front Office Sports that her departure was related to old Twitter messages and posts flagged after ESPN got her on board. ESPN declined to give the reason why she is no longer on the network.
Stewart cleaned up many of the tweets, including six from 2012 where she used an anti-gay bow. Other tweets that have since been deleted strayed into the territory of COVID-19 denial and conspiracy theory, said a source who viewed the deleted tweets.
Meanwhile, Stewart has left some of her COVID-19 tweets open, including one that says, âWe have clearly been lied to about the severity of this virus. It is time to see that there are real effects [sic] are worse than the virus itself. “
We were closed. Had Cuomo not sent sick people to nursing homes, 1/3 of our deaths could have been prevented. We can point our fingers all day. Obviously we have been lied to about the severity of this virus. It’s time to realize that the effects are worse than the virus itself.
– Kelly (@kellyinvegas) August 31, 2020
And while she deleted the 2012 homophobic tweets, some of them are screencapped here:
This really isn’t the problematic tweet that got them in the can pic.twitter.com/HxySpk0Yzt
– AJ (@ al2k12) June 5, 2021
Stewart posted a statement on Twitter discussing only the homophobic tweets from 2012 and attributed her firing to tweets from “anonymous online trolls”:
I wanted to make a statement about today’s news so that you can see all of my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/MvCsLlHhLw
– Kelly (@kellyinvegas) June 4, 2021
Stewart’s pre-ESPN work includes writing for the Bleacher Report and contributing to The Las Vegas Review Journal, and appears on ESPN 1100 Las Vegas. AA learned that Stewart’s 2012 homophobic tweets caught the attention of executives at Bleacher Report and Turner Sports after she was hired there, and that Bleacher Report executives urged her to part ways with her but Turner Sports Executives were outvoted. It’s unclear if Bleacher Report is the company she mentioned, which she previously banned from those 2012 tweets.
In any case, Stewart will no longer be part of ESPN’s betting coverage in the future, contrary to what they had planned when they were hired last month. As Perez and McCarthy note, ESPN’s statement about their last month contained this glowing quote:
“With an experienced voice like Kelly Stewart, we will be able to expand our sports betting content in the future,” said Scott Clark, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer, in the press release. “She will be an important asset to everything we do in this area and like the rest of our sports betting team, she will be busy.”
We’ll see what the future holds for Stewart and ESPN’s betting coverage.
[Front Office Sports]