Sports Illustrated Layoffs Prompt Social Media Tributes And Laments For “A Horrible Day”

Sports Illustrated‘s stunning mass layoffs Friday, which cast doubt on the future of the 70-year-old media stalwart, have prompted waves of emotional reaction across social media.

The Arena Group told the entire staff their jobs were being eliminated after Authentic Brands Group, which licenses the SI name, suspended that license to publish due to a missed payment of about $3.75 million.

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It isn’t yet clear what the ultimate fate of SI will be, but it has been thrown into uncertainty. Sports Illustrated Union and The NewsGuild of New York issued a statement vowing to fight for the workers. “We have fought together as a union to maintain the standard of this storied publication that we love, and to make sure our workers are treated fairly for the value they bring to this company. It is a fight we will continue,” Mitch Goldich, NFL editor and unit chair at The NewsGuild of New York said.

Reaction was swift and emotional on X, formerly Twitter, where “Sports Illustrated” became the No. 1 trending topic nationally by midday Friday. Reactions ranged from bafflement at management decisions in recent years to outright eulogies for the magazine, some tagged “RIP.”

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ESPN host Scott Van Pelt posted a vintage cover and a tribute. “If you are older, you knew exactly what day Sports Illustrated showed up in the mailbox,” he wrote. “Found this just last week and it took me back to a time when the team was great, they were called something different and if your team made the cover, it was the greatest thing ever. RIP SI.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN’s veteran NFL reporter, struck a similar tone. “At its peak and even for a while after, Sports Illustrated was an institution,” he wrote. “Its covers, and coverage, were legendary. So much great work was done there. And now, it’s the end. A horrible day for the employees that work there.”

Ricky Cobb, whose X account Super 70s Sports recently was announced as the basis of a TV show produced by Vice and Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmelot, offered a “Sky Point to Sports Illustrated.” His X post continued: “I couldn’t imagine being a sports fan in my childhood without it. Damn near every 70s cover is suitable for framing because ‘less is more’ was still a thing people understood back then.”

Here is a sampling of the reactions/remembrances on X, formerly Twitter (speaking of eulogized media brands …):

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