Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mariotti vs. Simmons in an ethics-off. WHO YA GOT? (Part 2)

In which we learn nothing, because we already knew Mariotti was a sanctimonious, hypocritical dipshit and Simmons was a gigantic idiot.  (Also: I checked out the link tony harding put in the comments to the last post.  I don't know if there are enough sarcastic anti sports media bloggers on this planet to properly break that thing down.  I might get to it at some point and take a crack though.)

In a 2,720-word apology, Simmons tried to explain what the hell he was thinking. It sounded more like a plea to a lawyer to have mercy on him, 

If you so dare, check out the link from the comments I just discussed, specifically the part in which Jay addresses his legal problems.  It's fannnnnnntasTIC.

with Vanderbilt’s partner pondering legal options. Wrote Simmons, in a typically rambling stream of consciousness that felt like a tidal wave:

Least effective insult for Bill's writing I've ever seen.  

(We switch to Bill's writing at this point.)

“Once a few people nudged us and said, Hey, read it this way instead, you transphobic dumbasses, that lens looked totally different. Suddenly, a line like “a chill ran down my spine” — which I had always interpreted as “Jesus, this story is getting stranger?” (Caleb’s intent, by the way) — now read like, “Ew, gross, she used to be a man?” 

Yeah, I know, when I see something strange, like someone riding a unicycle, a chill usually goes down my spine too.  Strange = spine tingling.  Especially when the "strange" thing in question is a trans person.  EWWW!

Our lack of sophistication with transgender pronouns was so easily avoidable, it makes me want to punch through a wall. The lack of empathy in the last few paragraphs — our collective intent, and only because we believed that Caleb suddenly becoming introspective and emotional would have rung hollow 

"Why approach this issue with tact?  No one is going to believe us anyways.  Might as well just be crude and insensitive about it."

— now made it appear as if we didn’t care about someone’s life.

I wouldn't go that far.  I would just say that it made it appear that you were fucking morons, which you are, because you are Bill Simmons and people hired by Bill Simmons.

“We made one massive mistake. I have thought about it for nearly three solid days, and I’ve run out of ways to kick myself about it. How did it never occur to any of us? How? How could we ALL blow it? 

See above.

That mistake: Someone familiar with the transgender community should have read Caleb’s final draft. This never occurred to us. Nobody ever brought it up.”

That’s because Simmons shouldn’t be editing a website.

As I said last post, I don't disagree with Mariotti, but can you imagine the colossal fuckups that would happen on a consistent basis if Mariotti were editing something like Grantland?  Everyone involved would be fired within six months.  It would be the sports website equivalent of the Hindenburg crash.

“I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up.

Could have been soon after the intense public backlash started, but that's just a guess.  It sure as hell wasn't anytime before that, because, as Simmons admits in his own apology, the article was published and available for several days before the whole thing came crashing down.  It took a little while for people to realize how fucked up the situation was because Grantland didn't promote the article particularly aggressively.

 … I am apologizing on our behalf right now. My condolences to Dr. V’s friends and family for any pain our mistakes may have caused. I spent my weekend alternating between feeling miserable, hating myself and wondering what we could have done differently,” he wrote.

I think he's being sincere.  I also still think he's a fucking tard.

“Ultimately, it was my call. So if you want to rip anyone involved in this process, please, direct your anger and your invective at me. Don’t blame Caleb or anyone that works for me. 

Actually, the author still deserves some blame.  Jesus, dude.  I haven't taken a course in journalistic ethics but I'm going to guess you fucked up at a number of points while researching this piece (not to mention while writing it--although those fuckups are admittedly more on the editors to fix).

It’s my site and anything this significant is my call. Blame me. I didn’t ask the biggest and most important question before we ran it — that’s my fault and only my fault.”

Again, this is sincere and heartfelt, but classic Simmons.  ME ME ME ME MY WEBSITE MINE ME ME ME.  While it's good to take accountability and apologize, Bill, you still manage to frame it in a way that lets everyone know you're convinced you're at the center of the fucking universe.  It's quite the skill you have.

(Now back to Jay.)

Actually, it also is the fault of the ESPN executives who have enabled Simmons. John Skipper and John Walsh have been partners for decades, going back to their Rolling Stone days, and they have honed the edgy feel 

ESPN has become grotesque and horrendous in a lot of ways, but it sure as hell isn't "edgy," unless you're a boring old shithead who hates the way teenagers wear their damn pants so low.

that has melded sports and entertainment at the Disney-owned leviathan. 

Points for identifying that the main thing wrong with ESPN is its constant need to meld sports and entertainment.  Negative points for using the word "edgy" in the previous half of the sentence, rather than "terrible."

But they also have been reckless in some personnel decisions, 


You know he wants that.  The internet indicates he's actually "back" with ESPN, doing freelance stuff, something I hadn't heard about.  But when you're as egotistical and bombastic as Jay is, I get the feeling nothing can replace the sweet sweet sound of your own voice coming out of the idiot box.  May the powers above (the football gods lol) spare us from ever having to experience this again.

and it now seems that once a week, a high-profile commentator is immersed in a mess about something. I don’t mean Skip Bayless ticking off Richard Sherman. I mean Dan Le Batard, mindlessly handing over his Baseball Hall of Fame ballot to an amateur-hour website and prompting questions about his lack of professionalism. 


Oh Jay.  You are the fucking best.  Independent of how fantastically hilarious it is that Jay would accuse anyone else of lack of professionalism, I like how he puts this on ESPN's executives.  LE BATARD WAS A TICKING TIME BOMB.  EVERYONE COULD SEE IT.  HE WAS JUST BOUND TO SELL HIS HALL VOTE ONE OF THESE YEARS.  I don't think I've heard a single established media member indicate anything but surprise at the fact that DLB was the Deadspin guy.  John Walsh and John Skipper can go fuck themselves for a lot of reasons, but I definitely wouldn't put that incident on them.

That was last week. Simmons and Dr. V was this week. What possibly will happen next week?

ESPN somehow going bankrupt, hopefully.

Bob Iger and the big Disney bosses don’t care if the noise translates to ratings and more megaprofits. But the Simmons snafu, with Grantland based in Iger’s Los Angeles backyard, could cost the company dearly in legal losses and public relations. 

Again, I would be shocked if anything comes of this besides a quiet settlement of an undisclosed amount.

“We want to keep taking risks. That’s one of the reasons why we created Grantland. Every mistake we’ve made, we’ve learned from it,” Simmons wrote.

How about going away before you make another?

If only.  Jay kind of has a point here--this isn't a tech startup entering a new field that needs to figure out what works and what doesn't.  Sites like Grantland should not make mistakes like this.

“Bill’s a fan,” Rivers said last summer, amid his epic televised argument with Simmons. “Is he qualified to do the NBA? Well, we can debate that all day. But Bill’s a fan, and I get that.”

A better question: Is Simmons qualified to do anything? Exactly who is he, where did he come from and what are his credentials other than being a fanboy? Can anyone answer that?

Bill almost certainly does not know more about the NBA than Doc Rivers, but he also almost certainly knows more about sports in general than Mariotti does.  If you gave me a horrible Sophie's choice in which I absolutely HAD to let one of them continue to write about sports, I'm taking Bill over Jay every time.  So, to answer your question, Jay, his credentials are knowing a little about sports and oscillating between being bad and terrible at expressing his thoughts.  Given that you know even less and are always terrible at expressing your thoughts, please stop throwing stones from your glass house.  Please take your "credentials" and "industry know-how" and shove them directly up your ass.

As it is, Simmons has shown a gross insensitivity toward other worldly subjects. Remember when he went to Memphis for a Grizzlies-Clippers playoff series last year and compared the Martin Luther King assassination to the crowd mood at Game 3? Said Bill: “I didn’t realize the effect (the King tragedy) had on that city. … I think from people we talk to and stuff we’ve read, the shooting kind of sets the tone for how the city thinks about stuff. We were at Game 3. Great crowd, they fall behind and the whole crowd got tense. It was like, `Oh no, something bad is going to happen.’ And it starts from that shooting and it’s just that mind-set they have.”

King was assassinated in 1968.

Now Jay is getting off the mat and back into the game.  That's a posterizing slam dunk for him.  Holy shit, I had forgotten about that Simmons bit.  That might be the dumbest thing I've ever read.

After that blunder, I e-mailed Skipper — I worked eight years at ESPN as a regular panelist on the debate show, “Around The Horn” — 


and suggested in good faith that Simmons was grossly overworked. “We do that to our people sometimes,” Skipper said.

"These 'John Carter'/NBA playoffs cross-promotional pieces aren't going to write themselves!"

Nothing changed. Simmons continued to be routinely overworked, which is Skipper’s responsibility as ESPN’s president and lead decision-maker. And the more Simmons worked, the more power he tossed around. If it wasn’t true that he ran Magic Johnson off the “NBA Countdown” show in which Simmons regularly appears, 

And let's hope that it was, because that would be great.  To Magic's credit, he has remained very quiet about the whole thing (as far as I know).

tensions between Simmons and Michael Wilbon sometimes flared during broadcasts. 

I renew the comments I made in the post linked just above.  It was great that Wilbon talked down to Simmons and treated him like dirt, but it doesn't change the fact that Wilbon is a fucking twat. 

Wilbon is one of the best sports journalists in America, 


trained at Northwestern and developed at the Washington Post, and he has broken too many stories in his career to count. 

Wilbon may be an excellent reporter, although I doubt even that much.  But let's be clear: as a journalist, the man fucking stinks on ice.  He's atrocious.  I hope he moves to Antarctica and doesn't come back.

Simmons couldn’t break a piece of china. Wilbon looked at Simmons as an alien from outer space, untrained and unkempt in the industry. Yet Wilbon, overworked himself, departed the show while Simmons pal Jalen Rose came on board, in what is now more than ever a distant also-ran to the Charles Barkley-fueled “Inside The NBA” show on TNT.

Not going to bag on Simmons too hard for that.  There's only one Chuck, and ESPN doesn't have him.  But yeah, don't bother watching NBA Countdown, it's a disaster.

Simmons has the ear of Skipper. Why? Because Simmons, with his Hollywood connections as a former comedy writer for Jimmy Kimmel, 





This is the best Mariotti piece I've ever read.

could meld show business with Bristol. What Simmons has done well at ESPN was conceive the “30 For 30” concept, sports documentaries created by some of the film industry’s best directors. And the best decision Simmons made, in regard to the project, was staying out of the way of those productions.

Just seconds after nearly making me fall out of my chair with laughter, Jay makes another legitimately good point.  Really pulling a Jekyll and Hyde act here.

In my world, Simmons doesn’t write well, doesn’t do TV well and really doesn’t do much of anything but schmooze the right people. 

Dear God, don't make me write it.  OK, I'm going to really regretfully write it.  Look: the guy has an audience.  A huge one.  That does not mean he's not a gigantic fucking self-centered dope, but the guy has an audience.  I'm pretty sure that's the one thing he does well.  

At ESPN, any guy off the street — myself included, I suppose — could do a few shows and become a star, 

False humility alert!

based simply on the network’s massive clout and reach. But at some point, there has to be a redeeming value to a personality. And don’t tell me about page views, unique visitors and Twitter followers — the biggest ongoing scam in the web media is how people buy and fabricate numbers, in some cases by the hundreds of thousands. Ignore numbers.

Or do tell me about pageviews, because they drive advertising rates, and advertising money drives the network.  So yeah, in evaluating whether Simmons is actually bringing anything to the table for ESPN, go ahead and do the opposite of what Jay just said.  And if you want to somehow believe Simmons is gaming the system to inflate his pageviews or something, you can also go ahead and do that, but just know that you're siding with Jay Mariotti.  That should get you to reconsider.  Also: assuming Jay is actually implying that here, it's almost funnier than Jay's insinuation that Bill is some kind of Hollywood insider.  As if a corporate behemoth the size of Disney/ABC wouldn't have a very firm grasp on what drives their web traffic.  And as if it would be possible for one of their own employees to commit pageview fraud right under their noses.

Bill Simmons, BS for short, 


is the product of a network so big that it can make media sensations out of hubcaps. 

Except that Simmons, for all his flaws, and he does have many of them, is something of a self-made success story (even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth), so that argument doesn't really resonate here.

Now that he has become a liability to that network, expect him any day back in the Garden with his Celtics jersey. Once a fanboy, always a fanboy.

This is Jay Mariotti for Sports Talk Florida, signing off.  

/single tear drips down Jay's cheek as he closes his laptop and goes to sleep in the back of his car


Anonymous said...

Who would you take in a slap fight between Simmons and Jay boy, remembering, that Jay has tuned his girlfriend before?

Bengoodfella said...

Don't you know those charges were completely false? Jay settled so his family wouldn't have to go through the tribulation of a trial and the lies they would contain, plus the legal system was totally against him like it's against most high-profile defendants. Celebrities like Jay are always getting screwed over by "the system."

I would take Bill Simmons simply because Jay is better at picking fights and then hiding, as opposed to actually seeing through the fights he starts.

Larry B said...

I believe I've read that Simmons is over 6 feet, and while I have no idea how tall Jay actually is, he looks (and acts) like a dude who is around 5'6". I think he's also a good 5 to 10 years older than Simmons. So the answer is, I'm rooting for the meteor.

Anonymous said...

In related news, Simmons picks Broncos to win Superbowl 22-19. I, for one, am hoping he has his head up his ass on this pick. Although I found this chuckle-worthy:,35119/

tony harding said...

I second the meteor, Larry. In order for an actual fight to happen, though, Jay would have to transfer over from his alternate reality into this one.

Simmons only picked the Broncos because he is rooting for the Seahawks. Wilson is all he's talked about besides the Patriots for the last 2 years. Looks like you and Simmons won, Anonymous...

Anonymous said...

We hafta pruhtect owa Tawmmy's legacy at awl cawsts from that fahkkin fawtsniffin twot Peyton Manning! Seatle is a tawchud city! Fakk the fakkin Zawmbie Sawnics! I'm goin Billy Zima and predicting the Brawncos owa gonna win. Revuhs cawk jinx! You have been skunked Denva!

Loztralia said...

I've been dipping into your archive while procrastinating at work and I think you owe me a dollar. This is from October 2011:

"If Russell Wilson ever starts for a full season for a team that finishes with a winning record, post your address in the comments of this post and I will mail you a dollar. Wilson is a good but not great college QB who is listed at 5'11". There's a chance he's Drew Brees, but there's a much bigger chance he's a tiny guy who will never succeed at QB in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. If Wilson is a "franchise-quality QB," Jimmy Clausen was too."

Actually you don't owe me a dollar because I'm not going to post my address. I just wanted the opportunity to look like a smarmy twat.

Larry B said...

Hmmm, point taken. I will be happy to send dollars to anyone who posts their address. No P.O. Boxes allowed.

Nice pull.

I mean I could argue that Wilson is like the 15th most important member of the Seahawks, but I'd be grasping at straws. I was wrong as hell.