It was another fairly quiet day in the security command center at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters on Thursday afternoon.
And then things goat serious.
“There was a police car at the north gate,” said nine-year veteran ESPN Security Supervisor Jonathan Thompson. “And right about then a goat ran past the [security gatepost].”
“It showed no ESPN employee badge, ignored the on-duty officer’s plea to stop and sidestepped the security gate – all violations of the ESPN Employee Handbook,” said Vice President, Global Security & Facilities Operations, Rick Abbott.
“The standard rule for any type of animal issue is you call animal control right away,” said Thompson, who credits the officers at the north gate for reporting the intruder.
He and his colleagues followed protocol and then moved to secure the perimeter and protect employees. “We wanted to be sure no one got too close to it. Everyone was very respectful and understanding.”
Local animal control and the police were already in pursuit, as the goat’s owner – who had just purchased the rambunctious animal – had begun his own chase once the goat got loose from a nearby street.
– ESPN Security Supervisor Jonathan Thompson
For about 30 minutes, the goat – as yet unnamed by the owner – stayed close to Buildings 3 and 4, perhaps hoping to meet some of the SportsCenter anchors. It should be noted, there is no truth to the rumor that Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had stopwatches to gauge the goat’s 40 time. Although Adam Schefter was pursuing the goat’s agent at last check.
Eventually, according to Thompson, “I think the goat got tired.”
It was captured between Buildings 3 and 0 without incident – and in a very gentle manner – and returned to its new owner.