ESPN has suspended Grantland editor Bill Simmons after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “liar” for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence mess during a profanity-laden Sept. 22 BS podcast.
Simmons, who was suspended last year for critical comments about ESPN's debate show First Take, will be out for three weeks this time round.
“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," Simmons said. "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*#@)^%g bullshit. It really is. It’s such f*#@)^%g bullshit. For him to go on the press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.”
Goodell held a press conference in New York on Sept. 19.
Simmons also challenged ESPN -- which is the NFL's largest rights payor, allocating some $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football, highlights and other league-related content -- to take action for his remarks about Goodell, noting "I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble."
ESPN issued the following statement on Wednesday evening: “Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”
Simmons is the second member of ESPN's talent corps to be suspended over the Ray Rice matter. In July, Stephen A. Smith lost a week over comments on First Take in which he said women sometimes precipitate domestic violence reactions.
No longer a member of ESPN’s NBA Countdown pre- and post-game, Simmons is scheduled to tip off The Grantland Basketball Show next month.