As you’ve no doubt heard a million times already, Last night ESPN suspended former Boston Sports Guy Bill Simmons for three weeks following his podcast comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The criticism of Goodell probably isn’t what got Simmons suspended, as others at the network have expressed similar (though more guarded) sentiments about the situation.
What got Simmons suspended was his dare to ESPN management:
I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The Commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast.
He later repeated Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.
ESPN took him up on his dare, and now Simmons is suspended until October 15th. No writing, appearances, Twitter or Facebook.
The network is making an example out of Simmons after being criticized for its discipline of employees in the past, especially given the outcry when Stephen A Smith was given just a one-week suspension for his comments about Janay Rice.
This is actually not unlike the reaction of Goodell following criticism over the two-game suspension to Ray Rice, he then dished out a much harsher punishment and vowed to revamp the league’s entire policies. It’s worth noting that Simmons has received a longer suspension that was originally given to Ray Rice for his actions.
The issue zoomed to the top of topics trending on Twitter last night, with the hashtag #freeSimmons leading the way.
The question now is, does Simmons actually “go public” on this matter? What does that entail? Will he follow through on it?
More from SI’s Richard Deitsch – ESPN suspends Bill Simmons for criticism of Roger Goodell