ESPN Pulls a Dirty Foul on Bill Simmons


Reports came in that Bill Simmons was finished at ESPN from all over the place earlier today. Simmons, who had been at ESPN for 14 years now, was a growing face for the 24 hour sports television company, and the major name behind the Grantland website. ESPN president, John Skipper did Simmons pretty dirty when he fired him over twitter which is the equivalent of breaking up with your girlfriend by removing the “in a relationship” part of your Facebook profile.

 Here is Skipper’s statement announcing Simmons’s departure:

“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial – he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”

So yeah, that is pretty much a ‘don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split you,’ type of goodbye.

ESPN knows Grantland is a website that doesn’t need Bill to get traffic. Sure it’s the house that Simmons built, but it’s not his house anymore. That being said to just take away his main outlet is shocking to say the least.

My first thought was he probably went off on his twitter or on his basketball show with Jalen Rose and the bat, but then I remembered that nobody watches the show. His twitter seemed to be the usually stuff so it is puzzling.

Remember when Sean Salisbury was on ESPN every half hour talking about football and calling John Clayton a ‘nerd,’ then he was gone. Salisbury went from a guy who lived on the TV with ESPN to a nobody in the blink of an eye.

It was later revealed that maybe Salisbury had sent somebody a picture of his penis. A bad thing to do, yes, but I am pretty sure the NSA can prove that a lot of people have been sharing pics of their private spots.

It also doesn’t look like that is the case for Simmons. At times he was a handful and carried a lot of extra baggage, but when a guy is making $3.4 Million a year with your company it seems he deserves at least a sit down to talk.

If it does come out that ESPN was just done with Simmons, and he didn’t do anything else, it will be a straight up dirty move. An elbow while boxing, a below the belt punch, and getting fired on twitter are all the same thing, dirty.

I also wonder how many ESPN journalists, broadcasters, and other employees will say something about this firing. There probably won’t be a lot of support for Simmons publicly because if he can get axed anybody can. Even Bill’s bromance buddy, Jalen Rose has been quiet on twitter and will probably remain that way. It’s also difficult to blame the guys and gals who work for Disney/ESPN. That is where the checks come in from, and the checks are good.

Simmons will be way better than Salisbury, but is worth might have just gone down. Maybe he goes to Vice and HBO and takes over the game from there with an unedited show, or perhaps he takes over for Charles Barkley at TNT once Sir Chuck moves on to try to be a GM.

The bottom line is that we don’t know the bottom line yet. It will probably just get uglier than Amare Stoudemire’s jumper over the next few weeks between the two. It is a major divorce, and in any divorce the kids are the victims. The children here include, Grantland, 30 for 30, and Jalen Rose.

As a fellow journalist, who makes about $3.4 million less than Bill, I am standing up for him right now. ESPN did him dirty and shouldn’t be allowed to use up it’s employees for years through hard work and then spit them out to the unemployment line. That’s a big problem with our country today in the corporation vs the little guy. The main difference here is that Simmons won’t be in the unemployment line very long.

Think of it like this, ESPN isn’t ESPN without the great writers and on air personalities and broadcasters. ESPN would still have the sports, but it wouldn’t be what it is today. They owed Simmons more.


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Official member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and host of Thru the Wire Sports Talk Radio. Avid Sports Fan that always wanted to be a sports authority, and here I am. @CatfishHughes on twitter and