Paul Pierce attends the 2022 Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala at The Beverly Hilton on August 19, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
*Retired NBA star Paul Pierce is speaking out about his firing from ESPN in 2021 over his viral stripper video.
We reported previously that Pierce was dumped by ESPN after the former Boston Celtics star appeared in an Instagram Live stream with exotic dancers.
The former NBA analyst is seen in the video smoking marijuana and playing poker with scantily clad dancers performing in the background — all while ignoring COVID-19 safety protocols. When his ESPN bosses caught wind of his antics, Pierce was fired. He had worked for the network since 2017, being a part of “The Jump” and “NBA Countdown.”
Pierce says his firing was totally unnecessary.
“I got fired for having some entertainment,” Pierce said on Monday’s episode of the I AM ATHLETE podcast. “I’m playing cards, it’s my boy’s birthday, it’s girls dancing, and we’re blowing some tree. I mean, what did I do wrong?”
Pierce then recalled the conversation he had with the network after the video went viral.
“They hit me, and it was a higher-up,” Pierce said. “It was a lady. I’m like, ‘Hello?’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re doing an investigation. Could you tell us what happened?’ I’m like, ‘You didn’t see it?’ I was just hanging out, playing cards. It wasn’t my house. I mean, it was self-explanatory.”
Pierce said his ESPN bosses asked him to make a public apology but he refused.
“All them CEOs who own these networks, what shit do you think they’re doing behind the scenes?” he said. “And they probably got more shit going on.”
He insists he did nothing illegal, but acknowledges Disney owns ESPN and he had an image to maintain while employed by the company.
Pierce responded to being canceled by ESPN on Twitter, posting at the time, “Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile (hash)Truthshallsetufree.”
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