For Gretchen Carlson, it was never about the money
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Gretchen Carlson is $20 million dollars richer via a settlement with 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News. Talks of a settlement have rumored for some time now, and accelerated recently when reports surfaced via New York Magazine of Carlson having recorded inappropriate conversations with Roger Ailes in 2014 and 2015. 
 
Actually tangible evidence vs. she-said/he-said? 
 
Game. Set. Match.  
 
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But for Carlson, this was about pride. She was essentially let go in June after her 2:00 pm ET program's ratings ("The Real Story") were the lowest of any live show on the network. The recordings were her trump card, and when she felt disrespected in the way Ailes abruptly ended her career there by not renewing her contract, she was going to have her revenge by ending his at Fox News as well. 
 
A settlement of this size hits 21st Century Fox and possibly Ailes (who may be on the hook for it after getting $40 million upon his July 21 departure) hard, particularly the latter if starting up a rival network to Fox News is the ultimate plan. 
 
But Carlson wasn't about getting a quick payday for this reason: Not only has she earned millions over the years at Fox, but her husband just happens to be one of the top sports agents in the country, Casey Close. His clients include Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke, among many others — the type of players who sign multiyear contracts easily in the $100 million-plus range (or in Grienke's case this past offseason, the $200 million-plus range). 
 
Translation: The Grienke contract alone likely matches what Carlson just settled for. And she got an apology from 21st Century Fox as well:

We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve," the company said. "We know Gretchen will be successful in whatever endeavors she chooses in the future."

Still, ask yourself this: If Carlson's program was renewed, does that mean there is no sexual harassment suit? Would that act have made Carlson forgive and forget what Ailes said to her over the years? 
 
Probably on both counts, yes. 
 
But for those who say Carlson shouldn't have waited until her contract wasn't renewed, it's a non-starter of an argument and a silly one at that. Filing this kind suit against Ailes -- arguably the most powerful man in media at the time -- put her career at tremendous risk and likely was not a decision she ever wanted to be forced to make. The stress, the fear of never working again in basically the only job she's ever know, must have been extraordinary. 
 
Another question: Will Carlson ever work in television again? 
 
The feeling here is absolutely, but in a different capacity as cable news host/anchor. Instead, is it really that difficult to see the former Miss America who also happened to graduate Stanford with honors join The View? She's now a feminist heroine, checks off the conservative commentator box and has ample experience. ABC would be foolish not to make an offer. 

"I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace," Carlson said in a statement Tuesday. "I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen."
 
"All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace." 
 
Think of where the media world was two months and one day ago: Roger Ailes at the top of the heap. Fox News dominating the competition and even all of cable. Even his detractors would say the man behind the curtain could do no wrong. 
 
But then Gretchen Carlson changed all of that and the media landscape as a whole forever. 
 
And in a rarity in today's world, it really was never about the money.