Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Sean Salisbury finally comes clean

It took a few years, and it required his career to bottom out. But former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Sean Salisbury finally has admitted what everyone in the media already knew.

He once was suspended by ESPN for taking a picture of his penis with a cell phone and showing it to at least one co-worker.

Salisbury makes the admission to Michael Hiestand of USA Today. But Salisbury insists it happened only once.

“I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to say anything,” Salisbury said. “I thought it would go away and let my ego get in the way. Since then, I’ve beat myself up about it more than 10 baseball bats could. A stupid mistake can cost you, and this has really cost me. I should have been having this conversation a long time ago.”

In August, Salisbury vehemently denied the rumor/report in an e-mail exchange with the folks at Deadspin, claiming that the zip-click incident “never happened.” (Salisbury later sued Deadspin; it’s unknown whether his soul-purging will include a dismissal of the lawsuit.)

So, frankly, it’s hard to believe anything Salisbury says, now or in the future. And that credibility issue likely has done far more damage to his attempt to find gainful, consistent employment in the media than what he now calls a “sophomoric mistake.” (The legal system has another two-word phrase for it.)

“It was stupid --dumb!-- but not malicious,” Salisbury now says of his cellular misadventures. “How can it ruin a good career? . . . I’ve gone from being on six days a week to disappearing. And it’s not like I wanted to disappear. . . . But it feels good getting it off my chest.”

He claims that he has undergone anger-management therapy, and he says he won’t be following through on plans to pen a tell-all book about his 12 years in Bristol.

Still, the mere fact that he made the threat to tell secrets about his former place of employment will be another factor working against his ability to become employed again in the kind of environment with secrets folks might someday be interesting in knowing.

Then there’s the reality that, frankly, he wasn’t very good. He was loud and he spoke in absolutes and he had zero accountability for his blunders, like when he insisted that if Devin Hester returns a kick for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI the Bears “will win” the game . . . and then Hester did and the Bears didn’t.

Then again, perhaps there ultimately was accountability. And though he can blame the death of his career on a one-time mistake and his ensuing failure to own it, we think the incident to which he now admits was merely a symptom of the deeper issue that eventually brought him down, and that is now keeping him from getting back up.