Love him or hate him, ESPN columnist and analyst Bill Simmons is one of the most outspoken people in sports, fueled by subjectivity and pop culture references. (He’s also the Editor-in-Chief of the fabulous Grantland.com.) His thought-provoking opinions have landed him in hot water in the past, but the most recent edition of his podcast B.S. Report, in which he shares a few choice words about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, has gotten him suspended from EPSN for the next three weeks.
On Monday’s podcast, Simmons took some time to shine his own animosity-filled light on Goodell’s handling of Ray Rice and the several other domestic dispute cases currently plaguing the NFL. Basically, Simmons calls Goodell a liar for acting as if he had no idea what was on the video recording that showed Rice knocking his then-girlfriend out in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Non-basically, he said the following, and you might want to shield the eyes of any youngins.
I'm just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude 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 fucking bullshit. It really is — it's such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was."
Hold your applause, because he had more to say. “I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” he said, clearly without prophetic vision. “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.” But only that one time, sadly, as I’m sure ESPN will make him sign some kind of a disclosure agreement saying he has to wear “I (Heart) Roger Goodell” shirts at all public appearances in the future.
For what it’s worth, the network put out a statement saying that “Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards.” And they don’t think Simmons met those requirements.
Let it be lost on no one that ESPN’s punishment for Simmons is one week longer than Goodell had originally suspended Rice, following the former Baltimore Raven’s arrest and indictment. Of course, Goodell then had to renege on everything once the video was released, and has since done very little (beyond indefinitely suspending Rice) to prove to the sports world that he knows how to handle domestic violence in his league. That press conference last week? Don’t even get me started.
This isn’t the first time Simmons has been in trouble with ESPN over his uncensored opinions. He temporarily quit the B.S. Report back in 2008 over unauthorized editing of the podcast by ESPN execs. He was also suspended from his ESPN-associated Twitter account – first world punishment – in both 2009 and 2013, the latter of which for blatantly criticizing ESPN’s First Take with Skip Bayless. Have no fear, for Simmons will be back in three weeks, when there will probably be a dozen or so new controversies tearing up the sports community.