Was Bill Simmons’ suspension justified?

STEVEN SAZANT

“Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you”, Bill Simmons said. ESPN called his bluff.

The 2010 New Yorker Festival: In Conversation With Malcolm Gladwell

Bill Simmons has been suspended by ESPN for three weeks after proclaiming that the NFL’s man-in-charge, Roger Goodell, is a liar in a blasphemous tirade on his widespread B.S. Report podcast. In a press conference that ensued on Sept. 19, Goodell stated that when he suspended star running back Ray Rice for two games for punching his former fiancée and current wife, Janay Rice, he had a particularly dissimilar impression of what Rice had actually done, compared to what was exhibited in TMZ’s video of Rice’s outbreak. Goodell went on to state that he, as well as his associates in the National Football League’s headquarters, had not seen the footage, which Rice’s lawyers had in their possession.

To say that Bill Simmons was angry at Goodell’s press conference is a major understatement:

“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 [expletive] [expletive].”

ESPN responded with the following (via their website):

“Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. 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.”

Here’s what I have to say about Bill Simmons’ suspension. Ray Rice’s original suspension was two games. Back in July, First Take’s Stephen A. Smith was only suspended one week for suggesting that all women have an onus, and an outright responsibility to prevent getting struck by men. For criticizing Roger Goodell, Bill Simmons was roughly knocked with a three-week suspension.

So, why did ESPN lay down the hammer? For starters, they have a fiscal rapport with the National Football League, mainly including Monday Night Football, for which they pay $1.9 billion per year, ultimately valued at $15.2 billion overall, running straight through 2021. The main idea here is that money and commercial affairs are more significant than ethical principles. Safeguarding authoritative figureheads, such as Roger Goodell, is more vital than contesting authentic public concerns.

ESPN must have been cognizant that suspending a columnist for calling Roger Goodell a liar would look bad. ESPN had already done it in previous airings; the Associated Press has already written about it.; TMZ, indeed, has reported on it every single day since the press conference.

This suspension only proves that the world of journalism is changing. There are a million “traditional” reporters that can state facts. Bill Simmons has emerged from that pack, but as a result, he is the one being disciplined. Simmons’ hot-bloodedness is no secret to the sports world. His suspension may have pushed him over the edge, and he vowed to go public if ESPN took action against him over his proclamations.

We have not heard the last from Bill Simmons. “Roger” that.

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