ESPN’s Bill Simmons suspended for Goodell rant; barred from Twitter
ESPN analyst Bill Simmons has been suspended for three weeks after he made profane comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a podcast.
In addition, Simmons is not allowed to use Twitter while suspended, an ESPN spokesman confirmed to The Times.
Shortly after the suspension was announced, #FreeSimmons began trending worldwide on Twitter.
On The B.S. Report podcast hosted on ESPN.com, Simmons used the F word multiple times while passionately exclaiming that Goodell was lying about his involvement and knowledge of the mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal.
“Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test, that guy would fail. For all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such ... . It really is, it’s such ... . For him to go into that press conference and pretend otherwise -- I was so insulted.”
Simmons, also the editor in chief of Grantland.com, then dared ESPN to reprimand him for what he said during the same podcast.
“I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” Simmons said. “Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. ... Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.”
ESPN did just that.
“Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards,” it said in a statement. “We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”
This is not the first time Simmons has been in hot water for comments he has made.
In March 2013, Simmons was suspended from Twitter by ESPN after he tweeted comments about a segment on the popular show “First Take” during which co-host Skip Bayless and flamboyant Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went shot-for-shot while discussing Sherman’s comments about his greatness, Deadspin reported.
This is the second time ESPN has suspended on air talent for comments made concerning the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal.
In July, analyst Stephen A. Smith was suspended for one week over comments he made during “First Take” that seemed to insinuate women sometimes provoke domestic violence in the wake of Rice’s initial two-game suspension.
Smith apologized for the comments.
Rice has since been cut from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended from the league indefinitely.
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