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Friday, May 8, 2015

ESPN to Part Ways with Bill Simmons

ESPN has announced they will be parting ways with Bill Simmons.  New York Times Media critic Richard Sandomir broke the story on twitter this morning with a direct quote from ESPN President John Skipper.  Simmons who has experienced highs and lows in his 14 years at ESPN will depart the network at the end of September (the end of his contract), but there is word they may mutually part beforehand.  Simmons, an internet sensation in the late 90's joined ESPN in 2001 in their former online magazine page, Page 2, as well as writing for ESPN the Magazine.  He continued to build on his media portfolio, starting up the Emmy award winning 30 for 30 documentary series as well being the editor to the popular Grantland website, successfully hiring many talented young writers.  Simmons was also a main attraction to ESPN's NBA TV coverage spending two years on its pregame show, before venturing to his own show.

Simmons has experienced a tumultuous few years with his bosses in Bristol,  allegedly showing willful insubordination and receivign multiple suspensions from the network and on twitter for comments made against media peers and network business partners.  The most glaring is his offensive of the integrity of NFL commissioner Roger Goddell.

In a terse statement, Skipper said: 
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial - he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”

Simmons has yet to comment via twitter or to the media.

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