Back in April 2021, Paul Pierce was infamously fired by ESPN after he went live on Instagram while playing cards with friends, smoking marijuana, and surrounded by exotic dancers.
Fast forward nearly two years later, and the Hall of Famer still sounds in disbelief over the sports media giant’s decision to let him go.
Pierce spoke about it during a recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast. During the conversation, the Boston Celtics legendary player downplayed the circumstances regarding the content in the video.
“I got fired for what? I got fired for having some entertainment,” Pierce said, who was released from his contract two days after the videos went viral. “I’m playing cards, it’s my boy’s birthday, it’s girls dancing and we blowing some tree, what did I do wrong?”
Pierce told the crew he had no clue why he went live that night, noting that he “never” goes live before chalking it up to him simply having too much fun. The 45-year-old would then reveal his conversation with an ESPN higher-up who told him they were opening an investigation, while also admitting why his behavior ultimately rubbed the Disney-owned corporation the wrong way.
“She’s like, yeah, ‘We’re doing an investigation, could you tell us what happened?’” he said. “And I’m like, ‘You didn’t see it?’ I was hanging out, playing cards, it wasn’t my house, I mean, it was self-explanatory. … I didn’t do nothing illegal, but at the end of the day, it’s Disney, and so, they were like, they have a morals clause, and they just said it was immoral.”
Pierce has still managed to find success in the sports media industry since his ESPN departure. His most notable venture has been hosting the Ticket and the Truth podcast on Showtime with fellow Hall of Famer and former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett.
The 10-time All-Star and former NBA champion served as an analyst for ESPN’s The Jump and NBA Countdown after retiring in 2017 with 19 seasons in the league under his belt.
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