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#pounditWednesday, May 18, 2022

Reporter Ken Rosenthal forced out at MLB Network over Rob Manfred criticism

Ken Rosenthal on the field

MLB Network has parted ways with one of its most well-known reporters for a very surprising reason.

Rosenthal will not return to MLB Network due to criticism he levied at commissioner Rob Manfred in 2020, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. Rosenthal wrote several columns for The Athletic in 2020 that were critical of Manfred’s handling of negotiations with players regarding the start of the delayed season. At the time, MLB Network quietly kept Rosenthal off the air for three months, reportedly because of these columns.

Rosenthal ultimately returned, but his MLB Network contract expired at the end of 2021. The belief is that the network, which is owned by MLB, did not try to keep Rosenthal due to the lingering acrimony over his Manfred criticism.

Though he will no longer appear on MLB Network, Rosenthal will remain in his other role as a FOX Sports reporter. He will also continue to write and report for The Athletic.

This is a significant surprise for several reasons. Rosenthal is arguably MLB’s best-known reporter and consistently gets breaking news before his fellow reporters do. His criticism of Manfred wasn’t personal or particularly notable, nor did it happen on the network itself. If anything, Rosenthal’s column might have simply reflected how other people in baseball might have felt about the commissioner. It also raises significant questions about how much editorial freedom those at MLB Network really have when it comes to offering criticism about Manfred or the league as a whole.

Photo: Oct 13, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal talks during an interview prior to game two of the 2020 NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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