“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?”
“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?
That’s because Simmons shouldn’t be editing a website.
“I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up.
“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, 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
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.
How about going away before you make another?
“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?
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.
After that blunder, I e-mailed Skipper — I worked eight years at ESPN as a regular panelist on the debate show, “Around The Horn” —
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,
Simmons has the ear of Skipper. Why? Because Simmons, with his Hollywood connections as a former comedy writer for Jimmy Kimmel,
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.
Bill Simmons, BS for short,