Arguably the face of Turner Sports, Ernie Johnson will not be contributing to the network’s MLB postseason coverage this year, as he stays home on doctor’s orders. Blood clots were revealed in both legs in a recent check-up, and Johnson was advised not to fly.
Turner Sports — which encompasses TNT and TBS — announced the news Monday morning with a video from Johnson:
— TurnerSportsPR (@TurnerSportsPR) October 1, 2018
“Went to the doctor the other day, had a physical, and they discovered blood clots in both of my legs,” Johnson said. “The doctors have advised me against flying, and they put me on blood thinners. Talked to the bosses at Turner, and lots of discussions with my family, and the best course of action is to just stay grounded.”
Clearly saddened by the news, Johnson will miss out on baseball postseason coverage for the first time since 2007, when Turner/TBS gained the rights to MLB’s playoffs. He was scheduled to call the Astros-Indians series, but will now watch on TV as Don Orsillo takes over play-by-play duties.
“For me, it’s blood thinners and compression socks,” Johnson said.
The health issue is not expected to affect Johnson’s NBA studio work, and he will still be in his usual role with TNT’s “Inside the NBA” alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, starting with Tuesday night’s preseason coverage.
Johnson has been with Turner Sports since 1989, has won three Sports Emmys, and is the author of “Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary.” In 1997, he gave his life to the Lord, going from “a me-centered life into a Christ-centered life,” as he wrote in his book.
“There’s no age limit on faith in Christ. I was 41 years old at the time. It’s the greatest day of my life,” he says.
Also a husband and father of six children, four of which are adopted, Johnson has taken on the motto “Trust God, period.” And he’s had to live that out numerous times. Johnson battled cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) from 2003-06, and his son, Michael, was born with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy and lives on a ventilator in his parents’ home.
Being a public figure, Johnson has sought opportunities to share his faith publicly. One instance that gained widespread attention was following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. In sharing his political views, Johnson also shared about his relationship with Jesus.
“I’m a Christian,” Johnson said from the TNT set. “I follow this guy name Jesus. You may have heard of Him. The greatest commandment He gave me was to love others.”
In May 2017, Johnson joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast to discuss what it means to be a follower of Christ while working in sports.
“I don’t think you can force it, but I think you have to be aware of circumstances in your daily life where you allow that light of Christ to shine … You have to be intentional about your faith when the situation arises,” he said.
As Johnson faces this latest health battle, he’ll continue to point others toward Jesus.
“I’m just trying to model what it means to be a follower of Christ,” he said on the podcast. “If folks can see that, then I’ve done my job.”
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