ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks after he attacked the NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell for his comments about the now-infamous TMZ-released video of Ray Rice.
On his podcast yesterday, Simmons called Goodelll a liar and Goodell’s claims that he didn’t know what the video of Ray Rice beating his then-girlfriend showed “such f**king bulls**t.”
Goodell held a press conference last week about how the NFL responded to the accusations of domestic abuse against Rice. At first, the Baltimore Ravens suspended Rice for two games after reports he assaulted Janay Palmer Rice, his now-wife. Earlier this month, TMZ released video footage of the incident. The Ravens ended Rice’s contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
Simmons said during his Sept. 23 podcast of the B.S. Report for ESPN, “if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar.” He went on to say he was “insulted” that Goodell said he didn’t know what the video showed, Mediaite reported. Simmons added that he wanted to be called out for his comments.
Simmons is also the editor-in-chief of sports and pop culture site Grantland.
“I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” he said. “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.”
In a Sept. 24 statement on its website, ESPN announced the suspension. The statement reads:
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“Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. 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.”
iMediaEthics has written to ESPN.
Earlier this month, the cast of Fox News’ Fox & Friends joked about Rice’s beating his wife. The network did not apologize.
ESPN suspended radio host Max Kellerman briefly in August after he commented about Rice’s at-the-time only two-game suspension and remarked that he once slapped his girlfriend when they were drinking.
ESPN also suspended Stephen A. Smith in July for a week after he suggested, when discussing Rice, that women “provoke” assault.
Hat Tip: Brian Stelter
UPDATE: 10:18 PM EST: ESPN’s Mike Soltys said ESPN has no further comment beyond its statement. He added that ESPN denies receiving a phone call on the podcast from the NFL.