ESPN radio and television personality Dan Le Betard spoke with USA Today about Bill Simmons' imminent departure from ESPN.
Network president John Skipper announced earlier this month the decision not to renew Simmons' contract, which expires at the end of September. Simmons, who joined the outlet in 2001 as a columnist, is one of the most prominent figures in sports media.
Simmons hosted a popular podcast, The B.S. Report, and was the editor-in-chief of ESPN-sponsored site Grantland. He also helped create ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series, for which he serves as executive producer. Simmons, the author of the book The Book of Basketball, a New York Times bestseller, has also served as an analyst for ESPN's NBA coverage.
FTW: I’ll get you out of here on this: As someone who’s had some run-ins with management, what do you think about ESPN and Bill Simmons parting ways?
Dan Le Batard: It was interesting. He’s the most popular sportswriter in America. And ESPN has figured out how to allow anybody to leave. Nobody in the company is too important to ever get the [axe]. Anybody can leave without it harming ESPN. So when you get a situation that America’s most popular sportswriter is given a lot and wants more — whether it’s freedom or money — and on top of that you have a Bill Simmons that, it’s been reported, has issues with management. When you put those three together, ESPN’s going to let somebody go. The rest of us are just hanging onto them.
SI.com's Richard Deitsch reported last week that Simmons will no longer appear on any ESPN platforms.