Longtime Tennessean sports columnist let go

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Longtime sportswriter Joe Biddle was among the dozen employees at The Tennessean who were laid off on Thursday.

Biddle was a sportswriter at the paper for 13 years.  He previously worked at rival newspaper The Nashville Banner for 18 years.  The paper went out of business in 1998.

Biddle told Nashville’s News 2 he has had the opportunity to cover many major sporting events throughout his career.

“I’ve gotten to do some things that I would have never dreamed, a boy from Johnson City, Tennessee could ever do.  I’ve had over 20 Masters, over 20 Final Fours [and] over 20 Super Bowls,” he said.

Biddle said he was not surprised to learn he was being let go.

“I wasn’t really surprised.  In fact, working under those conditions where you’re twisting in the wind a little bit wondering, ‘Who’s going to be next?’ because they’ve had furloughs and been having layoffs,” he said.

He added, “The Banner, we were the underdog.  We didn’t have the staff size that they had and yet the only way we could stay with them was to compete with them.”

After the paper closed, Biddle was quickly hired by The Tennessean as a columnist and is proud of everything he accomplished as a writer.

“I always tried to be fair, whether it was taking on a coach that I thought didn’t belong anymore at that job or an AD or president of the university or things like that, I tried to be fair.  I tried to say, ‘Hey, this guy has a family, he’s got people to feed,'” he said.

Biddle said he has already completed his final column, which is slated to run in Sunday’s edition of the paper.

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