If it’s another Bill Simmons podcast, it must mean another angry diatribe. In the latest edition with writer Malcolm Gladwell, the two discuss the NFL’s move to Los Angeles. And in the course of conversation, the failed bid of Carson, CA came up and the name of Disney CEO Robert Iger.
Disney owns ESPN and Iger was part of the Carson Stadium project which was going to house the Chargers and Raiders, but was overwhelmingly rejected by NFL owners. Simmons discussed Iger’s involvement and the issues that led to his downfall at ESPN:
“Then Iger’s involved — oh, that’s interesting. Because, you know, I knew from personal experience that he wanted to get involved in an LA football team. That was one of the reasons I had so many problems at ESPN last year.”
What Simmons was saying between the lines is that he felt that Iger was nervous over his NFL comments and they were hurting his chances of getting a team in Carson.
Gladwell added about the potential conflicts of being an executive whose network airs NFL games, but notes that Iger really didn’t do anything wrong in this case:
“It just struck me as weird,” Gladwell said. “I didn’t know what happens when your professional responsibility as a broadcaster starts to conflict with — maybe his notion was he would be gone from ESPN by the time that move actually happened. I don’t know.”
Simmons did add this:
“It would only be weird if you were covering that team objectively, and then somebody that worked for the network was criticizing the commissioner, and then found out he wasn’t at the company anymore on Twitter.”
Yes, Simmons brought up his unceremonial dismissal from ESPN. Not that he’s bitter.
The podcast can be heard below and at the 18:15 mark, you can the conversation.