Now, Politico's Mike Allen reports that the suspension came about, not because Olbermann violated network policy -- but because he wouldn't apologize on-air:
Network sources tell Playbook that Keith Olbermann was suspended because he refused to deliver an on-camera mea culpa, which would have allowed him to continue anchoring "Countdown." Olbermann told his bosses he didn't know he was barred from making campaign contributions, although he is resisting saying that publicly. Olbermann may not hold as many cards as he thinks. He makes $7 million a year and MSNBC's prime time is not as dependent on him as it was before the addition of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, who make considerably less.
Olbermann's indefinite suspension without pay has sparked criticism from reporters and pundits, particularly in light News Corp's million-dollar donations to conservative groups.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow argued on her show Friday night that Olbermann's suspension proves the difference between MSNBC and Fox News.