Bill Simmons vs. Keith Olbermann: The War of Words

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Earlier this week, Bill Simmons (aka "The Sports Guy") penned an online column, which argued the following thesis:

The eventual comeback by Tiger Woods on the golf course will be more difficult than the in-ring return of Muhammad Ali, following his hiatus from boxing that stemmed from avoiding the Vietnam War draft.

It's a controversial stance, one meant to elicit opinions and one defended by nine well-reasoned points.

So, how did MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann react? By immaturely taking to his blog and writing:

If the writer can let me know when Woods is punitively drafted by the military even though he is about eight years older than almost all the other draftees, I’ll begin to take him seriously. In the interim I am again left to marvel how somebody can rise to a fairly prominent media position with no discernible insight or talent, save for an apparent ability to mix up a vast bowl of word salad very quickly.

Simmons then Tweeted in response: KO, please know the feeling is mutual. You’re my worst case scenario for my career in 12 yrs: a pious, unlikable blowhard who lives alone.

We love any war of words between two outspoken individuals, but must side with Simmons in this case.

First, Mr. Olbermann, as long-time readers of The Sports Guy, we can tell you how he rose to his position as the top columnist at

By earning a Master's in Journalism from Boston University; slogging away for years as a bartender while creating/building his own website; and being discovered by ESPN after he earned a loyal online following.

Some journalists may look down on Simmons because he represents the age of new media, in which a writer can thrive on the Internet without ever speaking to an athlete or going inside a locker room for his columns. But such a niche still requires wit, knowledge and hard work.

The guy recently wrote a 700-page book on the history of basketball that was number-one on The New York Times Bestsellers List.

Moreover, Olbermann has risen to his level of notoriety due to a similar recent phenomenon: the opinionated, 24/7 news cycle.

Finally, go ahead and disagree with Simmons' take on Woods vs. Ali. But do it in a respectful manner. A few days ago, Simmons took part in a Podcast with fellow ESPN columnist Rick Reilly because the pair has contrasting opinions on the Tiger Woods press conference.

Simmons isn't afraid to mix it up - professionally, respectfully - with those that don't share his points of view. But Olbermann was clearly using this Woods' column as an excuse to bitterly rail against The Sports Guy's overall success. That's just petty.

Choose a side in this feud:

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