Ed Cunningham abruptly left his job with ESPN and ABC shortly before the college football season began because he’s worried about his role in the sport and its safety. The broadcaster worked for the network covering games for more than two decades and has spent a lifetime in the NFL, but he said his time as a broadcaster, specifically for football games, is done.
“I take full ownership of my alignment with the sport,” Cunningham told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. “I can just no longer be in that cheerleader’s spot.”
He cited injuries, specifically traumatic brain injuries, as the reason he could no longer do the job in good faith. Cunningham, who played offensive lineman for the University of Washington and played five seasons in the NFL, said the physical toll the sport takes on athletes was too much for him to bear.
“In its current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear,” Cunningham said. “But the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it’s unacceptable.”