Why Bill Simmons is out at ESPN – Dan Patrick interview, Roger Goodell criticism
Bill Simmons has always been an edgy personality who made things difficult for ESPN management, but that did not mean people anticipated a separation between him and the network when his contract expired in September. And it certainly was not expected to happen so soon.
A report says a few recent factors likely played a big role in ESPN exec John Skipper’s decision part ways with the writer/producer/broadcaster so suddenly.
James Andrew Miller, who co-wrote the ESPN Book “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” says Simmons’ decision to go on “The Dan Patrick Show” as a guest where ESPN personalities were forbidden did not sit well with the network. Neither did his criticism of NFL Commissioner of Roger Goodell on the show this week (Simmons said the commish lacked “testicular fortitude”).
“There’s never been a time since the end of last year when I thought Simmons was going to stay,” Miller told The New York Times. “But after Dan Patrick this week, I knew that the train was going to leave the station.”
But Miller says the writing was on the wall for Simmons to leave when he had two weeks of pay deducted from a December paycheck. The deduction was related to Simmons’ September suspension for criticizing Goodell.
Miller reports that Simmons and Skipper had not had a meaningful conversation since last fall, and that requests for more hires for Grantland were not fulfilled.
Plus there’s this:
— James Andrew Miller (@JimMiller) May 8, 2015
Miller says no contract figures were even sent over from Simmons’ side in negotiations, possibly indicating they were never really too serious about wanting him back there anyway.
What’s next for Simmons?
“Look for him owning his dot-com rights and all the content that comes with it including podcasts,” an agent told SI’s Richard Deitsch. “And a TV play such as Turner, Fox, HBO or Showtime.”
Photo: Instagram/Bill Simmons