As a sports writer in his early-30’s, I can tell you that there isn’t one single person on the planet that I’d rather be than ESPN and Grantland Editor-In-Chief’s Bill Simmons. Arguably one of the most respected writers of the past few decades, Simmons blends wit and knowledge with a certain tone that just relates to sports fans, often speaking his mind and telling it as it should be told—without all the fluff of traditional media. Problem is, his employer—the aforementioned Worldwide Leader—often doesn’t enjoy having to put up the rowdiness that he often brings to the Interwebs, especially Simmons’ take on a few issues by posting on Twitter.
By now, there’s a very good chance that you’ve heard about the #FreeSimmons social media pleas that sports fans and the general public have sent out since ESPN suspended the writer due to his comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And although that particular instance came during a podcast—one in which Simmons brashly challenged ESPN to discipline him for the opinion—he has had quite a few other moments in which he posted questionable things on his Twitter account this year.
So which ones did I find to be the worst or do the most damage professionally to him? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
8. @BillSimmons – Sep. 20
“It makes me mad that Rachel Nichols doesn’t work for ESPN. This exchange was fantastic. Goodell is Nathan Thurm 2.0.” This came just a few days prior to ESPN formally suspending him, but the point was clear—Simmons will say whatever he wants, wherever he wants when he thinks something is fishy or needs to be said. Just when you thought Simmons would lay off the whole Goodell bashing following his suspension from ESPN, he goes out and tweets something like this, proving that he really doesn’t fear anyone when it comes to discipline.
7. @BillSimmons – Sep. 8
“Ravens have to waive Rice today or they are cowards. New video is appalling. I’d like to see someone in the NFL do the right thing for once.” Just as the violent video of Ray Rice knocking out his girlfriend in the elevator was released to the public, Simmons, once again, let his voice be heard via his Twitter account. This came just a few hours before the Baltimore Ravens formally released Rice, their now former, All-Pro running back, showing that Simmons did actually get his wish—and that someone in the NFL finally did do the right thing. Of course, this came after months of support the franchise initially gave Rice, but that’s neither here nor there, right?
6. @BillSimmons – Aug. 8
“It’s good to have the NFL back – I didn’t realize how much I missed PED suspensions, hypocrisy and consistently atrocious leadership.” Is Bill Simmons really Nostradamus? I doubt that, but one could make the argument seeing how he tweeted this jab at the NFL just as the preseason was getting started. Who knew that, just six weeks later, the apparent leader of the entire, billion dollar corporation, Roger Goodell, would be standing at a podium, defending himself and his decisions in the wake of, arguably, the most embarrassing point in the league’s history. Sure, Simmons was a bit tongue-in-cheek and cavalier with his tweet, here, but it proved to be the first bit of smoke he showed before the fire came a few weeks later, ultimately leading to his suspension from ESPN.
5. @BillSimmons – Sep. 19
“Has not considered resigning. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I give up.” Like a few others on this list, Simmons live-tweeted his reactions during the Roger Goodell press conference in which the NFL Commissioner bluntly said that he had not even considered putting in his resignation—even though the entire league had been seemingly in turmoil with all of the reports of domestic abuse with some of its players. In a time that the NFL needs a critical leader, Goodell was passive and shy in his handling of the media during his time at the podium, and Simmons was shocked to hear the prideful Commish defend his reign at the top.
4. @BillSimmons – Jun 5
“Flip Saunders is a head coach/team prez/part-owner??? Kudos to Glen Taylor – with Sterling gone, he’s officially the NBA’s worst owner. Wow.” Of course, Simmons was referring to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ decision to promote former (and now current) head coach Flip Saunders back into that same position after he was initially named a member of the team’s front office. And, thanks to the decision to do so, Simmons took a hard shot at the T-Wolves’ owner, Glen Taylor, with the writer comparing him to a mumbling, irrational, racist in former L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. I don’t know if there’s anything worse to call a guy—well, in NBA circles, that is.
3. @BillSimmons – May 28
“Miami has 19 fouls, Indiana has 10. I’m not sure I should be allowed on live TV.” This came during Bill Simmons physically sitting in the same arena that the Miami Heat were playing the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals this year—with him openly admitting to being a little more than frustrated with the way the refs were calling things. It must be hard for Simmons—a diehard, logical sports fan—to have to hold back his opinion on live TV for the fear of making his bosses upset with him. I mean, fans can scream, tweet and complain all they want without any sort of punishment, but Simmons—the biggest sports fan of all—has to resist doing so for fear of losing his job; even if he is right in his assumptions.
2. @BillSimmons – July 11
“Also – VERY interesting that LeBron didn’t mention Wiggins of Bennett in that mini-essay. Makes me wonder if Kevin Love is the next domino.” Once again, Simmons proved just how knowledgeable he really is with sports, reading between the lines of the perfectly written essay that LeBron James did to announce his return to the Cleveland Cavs. Rather than get caught up in the sentimental things James mentioned and how he was looking at being a mentor and leader of the young talent on the roster, Simmons dug deeper and noticed whom LeBron specifically mentioned, with tow former No. 1 overall picks—Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins—glaringly missing from the essay. As it turned out, Cleveland traded the two to Minnesota about a month later for, you guessed it, Kevin Love. You have predicted the future once again, Bill.
1. @BillSimmons – May 13
“Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington and Tony Brothers reffing a genuinely important NBA playoff game – what could possibly go wrong?” As much as I’ve pointed out that Simmons likes to give his opinions and underlying conspiracy theories on sports, he stepped up his game during Game 6 of the Western Conference Semis between the L.A. Clippers and OKC Thunder—before the game ever started. His preceding tweets about the lousy calls on the court only echoed his initial concern—that something was wrong with the NBA assigning these three officials to this particular game—with Simmons even saying at one point that a certain call was so bad, that he was just going to stay off of Twitter because he was afraid what he might say.
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