Ed Cunningham will not be calling college football games for ABC or ESPN this fall, a job he had been accustomed to doing for nearly 20 years. The 48-year-old color analyst has resigned, citing the long-term concerns over football athletes’ safety and health as the reasons he is stepping away.
“In its current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear,” Cunningham said in an interview with the New York Times. “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.”
Cunningham has been around the game since playing as a freshman in high school. He was a captain for the Washington Huskies football team that won the National Championship in 1991. Following his collegiate tenure, he was an offensive lineman in the NFL for five seasons.
Finally, in good conscience, he’s stepping away.
“I take full ownership of my alignment with the sport,” he said. “I can just no longer be in that cheerleader’s spot.”
He stressed the luxury of staying within the sport, having a job that both paid well and made it easy on his work schedule. Still, it isn’t enough for Cunningham to stick around.
“I was being paid a really nice six-figure salary for not a lot of days of work, and a live television gig that, except for nonsports fans, people would beat me up to take,” Cunningham said. “I’m leaving a job that’s great. It’s not kind of good. It’s great.”