ESPN, the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, fired its long-time podcaster, columnist, creator of content, and provocateur, Bill Simmons. Grandland, the website founded by Simmons, will remain under the control of ESPN. As of this morning, Simmons is still listed prominently on the Grantland website and he’s still identified as its editor-in-chief.
I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. He’s been suspended by ESPN many times for saying controversial things on Twitter and his podcast. Last year, he was suspended three weeks for saying on his The B.S. Report podcast that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was lying about the league’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case.
When your employer suspends you for three weeks, you have to figure the next rung on the punishment ladder is termination.
The final straw appears to be an unsanctioned appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. ESPN employees are forbidden on appearing on the former ESPN anchor’s radio show without permission. Simmons appeared on the show on Thursday, May 7, without a signed permission slip. He was then let go by ESPN the very next day.
I used to listen to The B.S. Report fairly regularly, but recently, I’ve found it impossible to listen to. Simmons has a certain shtick about him and that shtick can go a long way. Also, he has a weird nastily-toned voice. It can be grating to the ears. He recently began another podcast for ESPN, an NBA centric show called Bill Don’t Lie. I never listened to it, but from what I understand, it was pretty awful.
I was looking forward to hearing his take on the Wells report, the special report commissioned by the NFL over allegations that Tom Brady and the rest of the New England Patriots cheated in the AFC Championship with underinflated footballs. Bill Simmons is originally from the New England area and can always be counted on to be a unapologetic homer for any New England area sports team. Like most male sports fans from New England, Bill Simmons has a heterosexual crush on Tom Brady.
It would have been entertaining listening to him excuse Brady’s cheating.