Bill Simmons is the maverick of ESPN. He has revolutionized the sports writing game. Simmons was the mastermind behind the launch of Grantland, which is a great site. If you haven’t checked out you should. He also has a very popular podcast called “The BS Report.” Simmons is a known fan of all teams in Massachusetts, which include the Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox. But what has made Simmons one of the cornerstones of ESPN, and a brilliant writer, is his ability to mix his sports knowledge with pop culture. Perhaps in admiration of Bill Simmons, I must disclose that I do own Bill Simmons’, “The Book of Basketball,” which is a great read. Simmons is one of ESPN’s most recognizable talents and perhaps, its most outspoken commentator as well.
Lately, Simmons has been tied to some controversy, first for calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “liar” on his podcast, “The BS Report.” ESPN responded by suspending Simmons for 3 weeks because they felt Simmons fell short of ESPN’s journalistic standards. But Simmon’s tirade regarding Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice incident was essentially classic Simmons.
And really, it is this type of outspoken, blatant criticism of anyone in the sports universe that has made Simmons such a celebrity in the sports world. The irony behind his criticism on Goodell and ESPN’s subsequent reprimand of Simmons is that the journalist appears to be right on the money about Goodell. The suspension of Simmons rallied his fans to start the hashtag #FreeSimmons on Twitter. It was great to have Simmons back from his suspension; after all, he was surely missed.
But if you thought that ESPN could corral Simmons and make him keep a low profile, then you are wrong. Following his return, Simmons went on a short diatribe but this time on Twitter in response to comments made by Mike Golic on “Mike & Mike.” Basically, Golic took comments Simmons made on “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd out of context. Golic responded by sending out a quasi apologetic tweet that conveyed a reconciliation between the two. It will be interesting to see if ESPN takes any action against Golic or Simmons. As it is, ESPN discourages its employees to “attack” one another on live media.
Many will say that Simmons was childish for his reaction to Golic. I found it to be entertaining. It reminds of the line, “My name is my name!”
Bill Simmons is a character and he may at times cross the line but that’s what makes him the maverick of ESPN. So I look forward to the content the Sports Guy will produce via his various platforms, along with maybe another feud with another ESPN talent. That’s the thing about mavericks, they’re hard to predict because they blaze their own trails.