Bill Simmons, the sportswriter and broadcaster who was bounced from ESPN, told a Vanity Fair gathering that the sports network avoided overt criticism of the National Football League.
“The way ESPN has covered the N.F.L. for the last year has been really shaky,” Simmons told the magazine’s “New Establishment” conference in San Francisco Wednesday.
He cited the domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, saying, “You didn’t really see it on ESPN. You saw it everywhere else. You start to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is their biggest partner. Are they holding back a little?’”
He criticized other networks in a similar vein. “They’re not going to criticize them because they need the [television] rights.”
Bob Ley, an ESPN stalwart, quickly tweeted a response to Simmons and said he was entitled to his own opinions, “not his own set of facts.”
Simmons, who has moved to HBO, indicated that his Grantland venture on ESPN was unprofitable. Read more