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Bill Simmons reportedly suspended from Twitter for criticizing ‘First Take’

Bill-SimmonsBill 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:

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.

Mo Williams upset with Bill Simmons for saying Jazz need a point guard

Beware, media members: If you question Mo Williams’ abilities, he may be listening, and he will be ready to fire back.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons analyzed the Utah Jazz before the Miami Heat-Los Angeles Clippers game aired on ESPN Friday, and one of his comments was that Utah needed a new point guard. Williams, who plays point guard for the Jazz, heard Simmons’ comment and didn’t care for it. He responded via his Twitter account:

Someone should remind Williams that he has been out since hurting his thumb in a Dec. 22 game against Miami. Should Simmons have factored Williams into the mix when the guy had surgery? Maybe, but it’s not like Simmons’ analysis is off. Utah has been running Jamaal Tinsley and Alec Burks out there. Besides, the reality about Williams is that he is a decent fill-in guy if you need a point guard, but he’s not a long-term solution.

I will say this in Mo’s favor: thanks to Twitter, guys have the ability to respond to critics immediately. Remember in November we saw another athlete similarly respond to a writer?

Bill Simmons: I’ve been waiting for Jeff Green to start dating Manti Te’o

Bill-SimmonsLeave it to Bill Simmons to be one of the first sports analysts to break out a Manti Te’o fake girlfriend reference. Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green has been incredibly inconsistent this season. Every time he rips off a streak of games where he puts up 15-plus points and throws down a dunk like this, it seems like he comes back with three more where he is a complete non-factor. Friday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls was one of those stinkers.

In a game where the Celtics lost by a point in overtime and could have used a boost from their bench, Green scored just two points in 19 minutes. After the game, Simmons pointed out that Green was invisible — in a way only “The Sports Guy” could.

“Jeff Green, he’s been invisible,” Simmons said. “I mean, I keep waiting for him to start dating Manti Te’o.”

Michael Wilbon did not approve, but I got a cheap laugh out of it. If you believe that Te’o was not in on the hoax after hearing stories like this, you might be less apt to crack jokes at his expense. I’m actually starting to believe Te’o, but he still deserves to be made fun of for being so damn naive.

H/T The Big Lead

Mark Cuban, Bill Simmons in Twitter argument over Mavs’ personnel moves

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and ESPN writer Bill Simmons aka “The Sports Guy” spent part of Sunday and Monday arguing on Twitter. It all started with a comment from Simmons on Friday that jeered the Mavericks for picking up Elton Brand off waivers after he was amnestied by the 76ers, and for signing free agent Chris Kaman. Brand and Kaman were teammates on the Clippers for five seasons and Simmons made a crack about Dallas signing both players.

Sorry, Mark, but we have to award this round to Simmons, even if Dan Gilbert is backing you up. The Mavs took a big gamble by breaking up their championship team with an eye toward signing Dwight Howard and Deron Williams this summer. They could still land Howard, but they missed out on Williams. And I agree with Simmons about their decision to acquire and then let Tyson Chandler go.

Cuban took a shot with Dallas and missed. He needs to recognize that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to go into full rebuilding mode in a few years. After all, we know his thoughts on running a mediocre team.

Bill Simmons’ New Grantland.com Website Intended to be Like 30 for 30 Docs

ESPN issued a press release on Thursday regarding the new website Bill Simmons has been working on the past 18 months. The site will be named Grantland.com in honor of sportswriter Grantland Rice and it will launch in June. Dan Fierman, Lane Brown, and Jay Caspian Kang will be editors, while Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Dave Eggers will be contributing editors. Contributing writers will be Michael Weinreb, Katie Baker, Molly Lambert, Chris Ryan, Robert Mays III, Bill Barnwell, and Patrice Evans.

As for the goal of the site, Simmons says “my No. 1 goal was to figure out how to capture the spirit and creativity of 30 for 30 and transfer it to a website. We wanted original voices, and we found a bunch of them already. We’re going to take chances, come up with a few premises and ideas that you haven’t seen before, and be consistently entertaining day after day. You will never know what to expect when you come to the site – in a good way. That’s our ultimate goal.”

Well, I’ve loved the 30 for 30 documentaries and I know many other people have, so if they’re able to capture the spirit and creativity of those pieces, the site should be a winner. Just by being a Bill Simmons production, it should have instant popularity and credibility. My guess is the site will be a success.

Sportsbook Taking Bets on Bill Simmons’ First Tweet After Red Sox Win

ESPN’s Sports Guy Bill Simmons is one of the most popular sports writers on the internet and considered to be one of the most prominent Red Sox fans in the country. The accomplished author wrote a book entitled Now I can Finally Die in Peace after the Red Sox came back from down 0-3 against the Yankees to win the World Series in 2004. Well after this year’s World Series favorites started off the year 0-4 and lost to the Indians Tuesday night, Simmons tweeted that he wasn’t going to tweet again until the Red Sox won a game. Now, Sportsbook.com is taking bets on the subject of his first tweet after the Sox get back in the win column.

Now that the sportsbook has made a proposition out of his twitter, there’s only one way to proceed. Get some friends to place money on the umpires and have old Billy boy throw in a Dan Iassogna reference after the victory. Seriously, if they’re making a joke out of him, why not make a joke out of them? This easily has to be the strangest Simmons story since he wrote about that haunted hotel in Oklahoma City.

Thanks to Darren Rovell for the tip

Bill Simmons Haunted by Skirvin Hotel Ghost Effie in Oklahoma City

We’ve heard many stories about sports teams staying at hotels on the road that they deem to be haunted. The Pfister hotel in Milwaukee has inspired stories from Marlins players, Giants players, and Carlos Gomez of the Twins last year. Apparently another one of these hotels is the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City, which was responsible for haunting the Knicks a year ago.

I’ve never been to Oklahoma City and I’ve never stayed in a haunted house or haunted hotel, so I’m not exactly a believer. But The Sports Guy Bill Simmons seems like a pretty honest guy, and in his recent column giving NFL picks for week 17, he wrote about his experience at the Skirvin as a sidebar story. Simmons says he asked to stay on one of the haunted floors, not believing in the story. Then he says he woke up at 4:30am because he was spooked:

“At first, I heard a baby crying and realized that was why I woke up. … Suddenly, it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone. I had an overpowering sensation that someone else was in the room.”

Simmons says he spent the next three and a half hours in the room with the lights and TV on, too spooked to go back to sleep. Most of us probably don’t believe in ghosts and have a hard time buying this story. Honestly, I think this might be a story perpetuated as a marketing ploy to get people to visit and stay at the hotel. Until now, I had no desire to ever go to Oklahoma City. Now I do, just to see if that hotel really is spooked. It’s like a theme park attraction — good business move.