Deadspin is all over the impending Bill Simmons v. ESPN scuffle.
Here’s Simmons’ complete remarks on his (relative) absence from ESPN.com over the last month or so.
Yes, I still work for ESPN. No, I’m not writing for ESPN.com as much — my choice, not theirs. That’s just the way it will be from now on, unfortunately. I’d have more to say, but I’d end up being profane and I don’t want to offend Buzz Bissinger.
When we inquired further, Simmons went on:
I still love writing my column and only re-signed last year because I really did believe that we had hashed out all the behind the scenes bullshit and come to some sort of agreement on creative lines, media criticism rules, the promotion of the column and everything else on ESPN.com. Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It’s as simple as that.
I have to say, I never saw this relationship lasting forever. It just doesn’t make any sense for a company as protective of its image and properties like Disney/ESPN to have someone has independent as Simmons on the payroll. Like Tom Soehn and DC United… sigh. Okay, like Katie Couric and CBS, you just knew it wasn’t going to work in the long term. Bill is already one of the biggest single names in internet sports journalism so even if he goes from ESPN, he’ll be back. I hope it’s with Gawker Media (who own Deadspin), who have no ties to “big media” and would provide a platform as big (at least on the web) as ESPN does. If Bill goes, you just hope that contract he signed with ESPN doesn’t force him into a blackout period for a period of time if he left ESPN. Those are common in radio. I don’t know if they are in the world of big-time “celebrity” journalism.
Good luck to Bill. I hope he gets free of the mouse as soon as possible.