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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Report: ESPN spiked 2016 Mark Jackson story because it was too incendiary

Mark Jackson in a suit

Feb 23, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN broadcast commentator Mark Jackson during the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jackson has been mentioned as a potential head coaching candidate this offseason, but teams may have concerns beyond the fact that he has not been on the sideline in nearly a decade. Jackson apparently had some significant locker room issues toward the end of his tenure with the Golden State Warriors.

NBA reporter Ethan Strauss revealed in his column this week that some troubling information about Jackson surfaced in 2016, but it never made it to print. ESPN spiked an ESPN the Magazine feature because the Jackson content within it was “too incendiary,” as Strauss phrased it. Strauss, who used to work for the publication, said he was not the author. He did share some of the content of the feature.

Jackson was the head coach of the Warriors from 2011-2014. According to the story that never ran, there were allegations that Jackson used intense religious rhetoric to create a divisive environment and promote an “us against them” mentality with players and the front office. One source said Jackson accused people of “being influenced by the devil” and that he would “lay hands on them to cleanse them of their evil spirits.”

Others claimed Jackson referred to Jason Collins and team president Rick Welts — both of both of whom are openly gay — as “penis grabbers” and said they were “going to hell.”

It is unclear if teams and executives are aware of the information. Jackson worked for ESPN before he was hired as Golden State’s head coach and returned to the network after he was fired. Strauss says the spiking of the explosive story is proof of “TV’s power.”

Jackson, 57, has already interviewed for at least one job and is considered a legitimate candidate.

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