Why Parting Ways With Bill Simmons Is A Terrible Move For ESPN

Source: mashable.com
Source: mashable.com

Source: mashable.com


What if I were to tell you the Cleveland Cavaliers had decided to part ways with LeBron James after this season? Keep in mind James is still the Cavs main attraction and main producer on the floor. The words for that type of move that immediately come to mind would be idiotic, blasphemy, foolish and petty. Well that’s pretty much what is going on between Bill Simmons and ESPN.

If you think I’m going too far with the Simmons-LeBron comparison let me shed some light on what exactly Simmons did during his 15-year tenure. He started off with the “Sports Guy” moniker writing columns for ESPN.com’s Page 2. Those columns helped mesh the world’s of pop culture and sports in addition to creating sports phrases such as the “Ewing Theory” (Named after Patrick Ewing: when a team loses its best player and goes on to win more games.), the “Tyson Zone” (Named after Mike Tyson: level of an athlete’s craziness) and more.

As the years went on Simmons’ voice at ESPN would only grow, becoming a main producer on one of the network’s only draws outside of live sporting events, 30 for 30 documentaries. Throw in Simmons’ website Grantland and he has built an empire within an empire at ESPN that he will now have to leave behind after the company’s president John Skipper announced Simmons won’t be coming back after his contract ran out.

The early speculation on the worldwide leader in sports cutting ties with their biggest asset has something to do with Roger Goodell. Simmons has been harsh of the NFL commish (the same NFL ESPN pays big bucks for to air Monday Night Football and the NFL Draft) and this week Simmons said Goodell “lacked the testicular fortitude” to make a decision before public reaction. Can’t say he’s wrong about that by the way, but apparently that was enough for Skipper and ESPN to say goodbye.

If this is indeed true then I question ESPN’s ethics. Fellow ESPN employee Britt McHenry kept her job after berating a towing company clerk. Keep it classy ESPN. I expect Simmons to find a job rather quickly given his roaring success at ESPN. One news outlet has already thrown their name into the discussion, VICE.

Regardless of where Simmons lands just know it will be on his feet. As for ESPN, I have a feeling like their ratings and site traffic might suffer a hit.

  • Lee

    Why do the over the top Simmons fans keep ignoring Grantlands woefully low traffic numbers when they talk about the Simmons empire & it’s supposed value.
    You can argue Grantland is a worthwhile loss leader for prestige reasons you can’t claim losing Simmons will lose them money. Pulling half the unique visitors of a site like Deadspin when u have the amazing power of a link from the ESPN home page as a traffic driver is quite frankly disgraceful and indicative of his poor hires. For every great prestige hire like Charles P Pierce, Brian Philips or Jonah Keri is undermined by pimping hacks like Barnwell and Lambert with key real estate & giving overrated hacks 10 years beyond their debateable prime like the unbearable Klosterman is really gonna hurt ur traffic numbers.

    One silver lining may be that ESPN will use this experience as an excuse to cut their losses with Whitlock and The Undefeated & either get rid of Whitlock or the site altogether