Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
AP/Press Association Images Bill Simmons was speaking on his new podcast.
# Sports Guy
Bill Simmons says he should have cut controversial rant that led to his downfall with ESPN
Simmons was speaking one week after ESPN shut down Grantland.

ONE WEEK AFTER ESPN shut down Grantland, Bill Simmons gave his most honest assessment and reflection yet of his time with the site on his new podcast.

Speaking with journalist Malcolm Gladwell, Simmons spoke about his time at ESPN, saying although it ended in a messy fashion, he doesn’t regret his time there.

Simmons even said he used to laud ESPN as a great place to work when he was recruiting other creative types, such as Nate Silver, who later started his own site with ESPN.

“My pitch to [Silver] was over and over … ‘this is a great place to work,’” Simmons said. ”‘ESPN gets a bad rap. It’s actually a good place for a creative person to work,’ which it was for those five years.”

Simmons said that although the culture can change in big corporations, he’s not blameless for the falling out.

He then began to talk about his infamous podcast where he called Roger Goodell a “liar” and then challenged ESPN to suspend him, arguing he was allowed to say what he wants. Simmons has said that the subsequent suspension — and dock in pay — was the ultimate turning point.

“When I did that podcast with Goodell — we took stuff out of my podcast all the time,” Simmons began.

“My whole thing with the podcast was: you know, the third rail was sitting over there, you gotta be really careful walking toward it, you don’t want to touch it.

“But sometimes it’s fun to get really close. And the good thing about podcasts is if you touch the rail, and you realize you touched it and you got electrocuted, you go, ‘Yeah, we should take that out.’ And we did that a bunch of times.”

Simmons explained that at the time of the podcast he was mad about behind-the-scenes things (which he didn’t elaborate on), he was working hard, and was about to begin a six-hour taping session with Jalen Rose for NBA previews.

As he was about to begin taping, some people began contacting asking if he wanted to edit the podcast before it went live.

“A couple of my people were texting me, like, ‘Hey man, you wanna listen to that podcast before it goes up? You got pretty into that one.’ [He said] ‘Eh, no, that’s fine, it’s OK, just go with it.’ And I never listened to it.

“If I had heard it,” he continued, “I would have said, ‘You know what, that doesn’t sound — I don’t think that’s worth it. We should take that out.’ I would have taken it out.”

Gladwell argued that Simmons has the wrong impulse, and in the midst of a legitimate argument against the NFL, should have been allowed to criticize Goodell.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

While Simmons agreed, he said he feels badly for “pushing the envelope” and putting the people working for him at the site in a bad spot. He added that he should have listened to the podcast, held a meeting, and decided whether it was worth it.

Simmons also acknowledged that the resulting suspension was the ultimate reason for the split with ESPN and that what happened after the suspension was inevitable.

“That really set the tone for just a really bad next eight months,” Simmons said. “It was always heading a certain way after they suspended me.”

Nonetheless, Simmons still believes ESPN handled the whole thing poorly, in regards to communication.

He confirmed he learned through Twitter that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, the Grantland staff learned the same way, and ESPN didn’t communicate the future of the site with the remaining staff after Simmons left.

- Scott Davis, Business Insider.

This Boston Celtics’ play from last night was absolutely incredible but bittersweet

Is this the most-horrible sports fan ever?

Published with permission from
Business Insider
Your Voice
Readers Comments