Multiple sources have confirmed to The Big Lead that Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin is out at Sports Illustrated.
Sources told The Big Lead late Friday night that Sports Illustrated approached Rushin this week and wanted him to stop writing his colum. He refused, and he is no longer with the magazine. It’s unclear whether he was fired or resigned. [Update - A source says Rushin was not fired, but rather he quit.]
We’ve long been fans of Rushin – about five years ago, we thought he surpassed Rick Reilly in terms of relevancy in the magazine – and this is a brutal loss for SI. On the heels of two other departures, this makes a total of three, with supposedly three more to come.
No word how his wife, former Connecticut basketball star Rebecca Lobo, is taking the news, but Rushin isn’t expected to remain out of work long. The early guess here is that he winds up at Sportsline.com.
[Update: Rumors are rampant as to why Rushin would walk away from a salary reportedly in excess of $400,000 just because the magazine wanted him to 'do other things.' Though we've been unable to verify it on SI.com, we're told that Rushin wrote only for the magazine and not for the web, and that was a place the magazine wanted him to contribute to. We're also told Rushin was one of the most well-liked members on staff, and the consensus is that he may have had the most talent at the magazine. Now that former SI scribe Jeff Pearlman appears firmly ensconced over at Page 2, could Rushin follow him?]