Bill Simmons reportedly was suspended by ESPN from Twitter for a few days for criticizing “First Take” last week.
Last Thursday, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went on the offensive attacking host Skip Bayless during an appearance on the ESPN morning show. The video went viral, and there was no comment from ESPN on the embarrassing segment.
Simmons, who is the most popular writer at the network, addressed the Sherman-Bayless exchange on his Twitter account later that night.
“I am not defending this segment,” Simmons tweeted before linking to video of the exchange. “I thought it was awful and embarrassing to everyone involved. Seriously.”
He also sent this critical tweet:
But what bothers me about the reaction to that segment is people saying Richard Sherman “won.” Nobody won. Everyone lost. Including ESPN.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 8, 2013
The tweets apparently violated ESPN’s social media policy (pdf link).
The Sherman-Bayless interview gained plenty of attention because Sherman refused to go along with the questions asked of him and instead made it his mission to bash Bayless.
“I am intelligent enough and capable enough to understand that you are ignorant, pompous, egotistical, cretin,” said Sherman. “I’m going to crush you on here in front of everyone because I’m tired of hearing about you.”
Deadspin noticed that Simmons did not tweet Tuesday or Wednesday. They pointed out that he only tweeted one item Monday and two on Thursday — all three of which were links to Grantland stories. That is after Simmons tweeted daily from November-February, save for Feb. 7, per Deadspin. Deadspin also adds that Simmons did not appear on “NBA Countdown” Wednesday night despite being previously scheduled to do so.
Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch says ESPN declined comment on the suspension report.
“First Take” has come under criticism many times before because of some of the antics we have seen on the show. Stephen A. Smith seemed to use the N-word on the program and escaped without penalty. Bayless turned the Washington Redskins quarterback situation into a racial matter, while Rob Parker did something similar and was let go by the network. The show has no credibility or respect by anyone with a brain, and its sole purpose is to rile up viewers by having hosts make outrageous statements.
By suspending Simmons for his critique of the show, ESPN is proving once again that it is choosing ratings over quality programming.