Bill Simmons Recode Summit Bill Simmons at the Recode Summit in 2017.

Bill Simmons has accomplished many impressive feats in his career, but the man best known today as founder of The Ringer clearly still has a soft spot in his heart for his first high-profile job, with ESPN.

Simmons and ESPN parted ways under tough circumstances in 2015, but in his 14 years at the network, he filled many roles.

In fact, Simmons was more than happy to point out everything he did there during an appearance this week on the SI Media with Jimmy Traina podcast.

Simmons said he was “super proud” of his ESPN work.

“I was there for 14 years and I feel like I elevated that place in just a slew of ways. That’s it,” Simmons said. “I don’t think that’s bragging. I look back at the ESPN experience and I ******* killed it for those guys. There’s no question. And that’s it.

“I had the biggest column they ever had. The biggest book they ever had. The biggest podcast they ever had. And I co-created 30 for 30 and I created Grantland. And I did TV stuff. I did all kinds of things for them and it was all in a 14-year span and I’m really proud of it. I don’t have bad blood for ESPN. I look at that as that place elevated me and I elevated them so if people wanna aggregate that, that’s fine. That’s how I feel.”

ESPN did not renew Simmons’ contract in 2015, with the driving force in the split involving Simmons’ comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In his B.S. Report podcast, Simmons accused Goodell of lying when he said he didn’t know about a video showing then-NFL star Ray Rice assaulting his fiancée (now wife).

“Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying,” Simmons said.

Those comments prompted ESPN to suspend Simmons and eventually led to the split. Still, Simmons doesn’t regret what he said.

“I’ve said this before: that was still slightly a mistake on my part,” Simmons told the podcast. “It was a Monday, we were racing to get that up, it was too contentious. I don’t regret what I said about Goodell — I’m saying we could have made two small edits that would have made it just as impactful and not turned it into a me vs. ESPN story. I thought what I was saying about Goodell was really important.”

[The New York Post]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.