(1090 The Fan) — ESPN has decided to part ways with Bill Simmons — one of the network’s most-recognized voices. ESPN president John Skipper made the announcement Friday morning.
Simmons, whose contract expires in September, was reportedly in the process of renegotiating with the network. The two sides had failed to reach agreement.
Skipper told The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir the difference were about “more than money.”
ESPN PR released a statement from Skipper:
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial – he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”
Simmons joined ESPN in 2001. He has acted as the Editor-in-Chief for Grantland.com, a popular sports and pop culture website associated with the ESPN. In addition to overseeing Grantland, Simmons hosts the ESPN podcast The B.S. Report and was part of the creation of the popular ESPN docu-series, 30 for 30.
In the past, Simmons has been vocal about his unhappiness with ESPN’s creative control. In 2009, he was placed on a two-week “Twitter suspension” after Tweeting criticism of an ESPN “First Take” segment. In 2014 — at a time when the NFL was under heavy scrutiny for its handling of its investigation of Ray Rice — he was suspended for three weeks after calling the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell a liar on his B.S. Report podcast. According to CBS Sports, #FreeSimmons was trending for nearly 24 hours after the suspension.
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