If you thought Bill Simmons was angry at ESPN, you obviously have not heard his latest diatribe aimed at his former employer. In the latest edition of his podcast, Simmons had his former Grantland colleague Joe House as the guest. They discussed why ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst was not allowed to appear to discuss the state of the Cleveland Cavs.
Simmons didn’t mince any words. He put the blame squarely at the feet of ESPN and said the directive preventing Windhorst on his podcast ruined any chance of a thaw in the relationship with the Worldwide Leader. And Simmons went on to say that the relationship will not be friendly from now on. (As if it has been cordial ever since he left the network.)
Simmons even threatened to hire a public editor of his own to write about ESPN for his new website “The Ringer.” Thanks to the Business Insider for the transcription:
Bill Simmons: I’m glad you mentioned that. You know why I can’t have Brian Windhorst on? Because ESPN won’t let anyone from ESPN come on my podcast, which is fine, but it’s just laying down the ground rules for what is going to unfold over the next few years. It could have been friendly and it’s not going to be friendly.
Joe House: It’s already unfriendly.
BS: It’s going to be more unfriendly.
JH: I’m excited to see how unfriendly it can get.
BS: Just wait until The Ringer hires a public editor for ESPN, that writes for The Ringer. That’s going to get very unfriendly.
It’s going to get ugly to say the least. And if Simmons follows through with his idea to bring in a public editor, “The Ringer” may become a must read site for sports media enthusiasts. It could very well turn into what Deadspin has done with some of their ESPN coverage in the past.
And while Simmons said he was hoping to maintain a friendly relationship with ESPN, there have been instances since he left where he’s let loose on his former bosses accusing the network of “hijacking” his ideas, throwing a shot at Disney head honcho Robert Iger, calling out ESPN for quoting his interview in GQ magazine without mentioning his name, even naming his podcast network “BSPN.”
There is always the chance of him taking the high road, but it appears Simmons is in tsunami mode and anything in his wake could be collateral damage.