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Report: ESPN president resigned over cocaine extortion plot

SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 5: John Skipper, president of ESPN Inc., attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 5, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The former president of ESPN says he resigned from the sports network after an extortion plot by his cocaine dealer.John Skipper told the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that “they threatened me.” Skipper says he understood the threat put himself, his family and his professional life at risk.

He says he discussed the situation with Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger on Dec. 15, 2017, and they agreed Skipper “had placed the company in an untenable position.” He resigned on Dec. 18 after leading ESPN since 2012, citing “a substance addiction.”

Skipper says he used drugs recreationally and that it never impacted his work at ESPN.

He says he has undergone treatment for his substance use and hopes to re-enter sports media as a consultant.