Bill Simmons’s fans have already seen, heard and read the last of the journalist’s work on all ESPN platforms, including Grantland, so those hoping for a teary goodbye likely won’t get it. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch has more:
SI has learned that ESPN and Simmons have worked out an agreement that officially ends his tenure as a front-facing employee for ESPN. Simmons sent an email to Grantland staffers this week informing them that he would no longer be working for the site he founded in 2011. Simmons will also no longer do podcasts or appear on television for ESPN.
ESPN declined to comment further on the matter, Deitsch adds.
Simmons’s contract was set to expire in September, but last week, news broke that the network would not be needing his services any longer.
The decision to cease posting Simmons’s work on ESPN doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, considering the journalist’s history with the network. In October, the network suspended him for three weeks after he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “liar” in a podcast. And it was reportedly Simmons’s comments about Goodell lacking “testicular fortitude” on The Dan Patrick Show last week that became ESPN’s last straw.
It’s unclear how the loss of Simmons will impact Grantland and ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, which Simmons acted as an executive producer for, but the network has plans to continue both in his absence.
On Tuesday ESPN announced plans to make 30 more “30 for 30” episodes, and last week, ESPN President John Skipper said ESPN will continue to contribute resources to Grantland.
“We are going to continue to do it, and we are going to continue to do it at the same level both financially and staff-wise,” he said (via Sports Illustrated). “Bill did a great job building that site, and I think he and I will be on the same page in suggesting we want to build on that legacy.”
Deitsch added: “Asked specifically by SI.com if he had a long-term commitment to Grantland, Skipper said yes.”
As for Simmons’s future, that remains less clear. While his work will reportedly no longer appear on ESPN, it’s unclear if Simmons has been fully released from his contract, which would free him up to move on.
Speaking of, rumors have run rampant about where the 45-year-old will end up. Some have suggested Simmons might make a move to Fox Sports 1 under a multimillion-dollar contract. Others predict he’ll go the route of Dan Patrick, who left ESPN in 2007 and now has a syndicated radio show and hosts the “Football Night in America” studio show for NBC. One of the most plausible options, however, might be a move to TNT and Turner Sports, which holds NBA rights.
Simmons, whose passion is basketball, has so far been mum on his next move.