REPORT: Ken Rosenthal Dumped from MLB Network Over Past Criticism of Commissioner Rob Manfred (UPDATE)

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REPORT: Ken Rosenthal Dumped from MLB Network Over Past Criticism of Commissioner Rob Manfred (UPDATE)

Chicago Cubs

It’s not the kind of news I was looking for in this otherwise quiet locked out period, but it’s big news just the same.

Ken Rosenthal, one of the best reporters in baseball today, has reportedly been let go from his gig at MLB Network because of past criticism of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred:

Per Andrew Marchand at the New York Post, it’s not just that Rosenthal’s contract was up and the league’s network decided to move on organically. His reporting indicates that things got ugly behind the scenes last summer when Rosenthal, writing for The Athletic, covered the pandemic season’s negotiations. Rosenthal received a (paid) three-month suspension at the time, but we all didn’t notice because of the pandemic. Apparently the league’s network was ready to move on after that.

From Marchand: “MLB Network has cut ties with insider Ken Rosenthal that is believed to be the end result of acrimony that peaked in the summer of 2020 after Rosenthal criticized commissioner Rob Manfred.”

It’s unclear exactly what led to this separation – i.e., who directed it, if anyone – and it’s conceivable there is more context out there that would make this situation look less ugly.

That is to say, you don’t want to make any assumptions about how this came to pass, precisely, but for now it’s a bad look for the league’s media arm to be cutting ties with a sterling reporter and commentator like Rosenthal because he did his job in analyzing last year’s pandemic issues within the sport (if that’s really what happened). It makes you wonder if someone high up also didn’t like what Rosenthal was writing about the current lockout, though that is not mentioned in the report.

Rosenthal remains with The Athletic and Fox Sports, so thankfully his excellent coverage won’t be disappearing.

The league offered this statement to the Post: “As MLB Network continues to look at fresh ways to bring baseball to our viewers, there is a natural turnover in our talent roster that takes place each year. Ken played a significant part at MLB Network over the last 13 years. From spring training to the winter meetings, we thank him for his work across MLB Network’s studio, game and event programming, and wish him the very best going forward.”

UPDATE: From Rosenthal:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.