ESPN has suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks.
The company took this action against Simmons (who runs the website Grantland) after he went off on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a recent podcast, labeling Goodell a "liar" following the executive's press conference on Monday.
Referring to the Ray Rice video - which features the former running back knocking out his then-fiancee inside an elevator - Simmons said of Goodell:
"If he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar... If you put him up on a lie-detector test, that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fuc-ing bullsh-t. It really is... And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.”
Controversy continues to swell around Goodell and the league for how it handled Rice.
It took months for the NFL to suspend the star after footage surfaced of him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator in Atlantic City. And then it merely slapped Rice with a two-game ban.
After video from inside the elevator surfaced, and it depicted Rice clearly punching Janay Rice (his now-wife) in the face, the Ravens cut him and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
But many don't understand how TMZ obtained the second video and the NFL did not. At least one prominent source says the second tape was sent to the NFL offices many months ago, prompting Simmons' outrage.
"Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards,” ESPN said in a statement.
“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."
Of course, many people are now aghast of this punishment for two reasons:
- It makes it appear as if ESPN is deeply in bed with the NFL.
- The network only suspended Stephen A. Smith for one week after he pretty much said Janay Rice was partly to blame for the attack, saying in general that women must make sure they do not "provoke wrong actions" by their male counterparts in domestic violence situations.
So, really, ESPN, what Simmons said was THREE TIMES worse than that? No wonder the hashtag #FreeSimmons was the top trending term in the United States last night on Twitter.