ESPN’s Bill Simmons sometimes goes off the rails in very un-ESPN-like fashion. As a result, he’s part of a small group of key faces at the Worldwide Leader who are sometimes penalized by their employer for going too far.
It’s debatable whether Simmons went too far with his latest diatribe against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, but it does appear as though — in a follow-up comment made a few minutes later on his podcast — Simmons essentially dared his bosses to discipline him.
His comment, according to Business Insider:
I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast … Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.
Earlier, Simmons had this to say about Goodell:
I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude 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 f—— b——-. It really is — it’s such f—— b——-. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.
Here’s the full audio:
Simmons has been disciplined by the network in the past, but in both major cases he was punished — once banned from Twitter and once suspended entirely — for making comments critical of the ESPN brand. And while Goodell and the NFL are linked directly to ESPN’s brand, it would be a lot harder for the four-letter network to sanction Simmons based on comments made about a sports figure who should be fair game. Especially considering ESPN just published a very damning report towards the Ravens at Outside the Lines, the network does not appear to be in a place to censor any criticism of the league or its commissioner.