Last week, Richard Deitsch of SI.com reported that NFL (and NCAA basketball) play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson has left CBS. Then, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News reported that the report of Johnson’s departure is “premature,” citing an unnamed industry source.
Over the weekend, Raissman apparently disclosed his undisclosed source in an item that quotes Johnson as calling the report “premature.”
“I’m dealing with a potential life change,” Johnson told Raissman, via SportsBusiness Daily. “That’s a scary place to be.”
Johnson apparently confirmed to Raissman that he has an offer from FOX, and that CBS has an opportunity to match. (It remains unclear whether Johnson is giving CBS a chance to meet FOX’s numbers as a gratuity, or whether it’s contractually required.)
“It’s not just basketball, it’s the NCAA Tournament. It’s something I have to weigh. It’s something that’s on my mind,” Johnson told Raissman. “Basketball is my thing. If this does happen, and I do leave CBS, within a span of one year I would have left two places that have provided me the greatest opportunity, the greatest platform for basketball — the Knicks and CBS. But to borrow an old Latrell Sprewell line, ‘I’ve got to feed my family.'”
Johnson said that the emergence of the story of his departure last week provided a distraction as he prepared to work the Pacquaio-Mosley fight for Showtime, a CBS subsidiary.
“Of course it affected my normal preparation,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a million things on my mind. I’m thinking about my future, I’m thinking about my family, I’m thinking about my money and I’m thinking about the fight.”
We like Gus a lot as an announcer, but he’s laying the drama on a little thick here. Either way, he’ll have a job — and the financial terms apparently are set. The only question is whether he’ll get “my money” from FOX or CBS. Based on his level of stress over an issue about which there really shouldn’t be one (especially when it comes to “my money”), our guess is that he really doesn’t want to leave CBS, and that he’s hoping CBS will match the FOX offer.