ESPN suspended sports columnist and on-air personality Bill Simmons for three weeks following a profanity-laced rant against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, which came on Tuesday’s edition of Simmons’ “B.S. Report” podcast.
“Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards,” ESPN said in a statement. “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.”
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Simmons was suspended more for his insubordination and challenging his employer than for his foul language or criticism of Goodell.
The person went on to say that, while ESPN’s podcast standards are less rigid than its print and TV standards, Simmons still violated them.
“I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what was on it,” Simmons said on his podcast. “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail.”
“For all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit,” he continued. “It really is — it’s such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.
“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,” Simmons said. “You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast.”
Simmons and his representatives have not yet responded to TheWrap‘s request for comment.
Goodell came under fire in recent weeks in the wake of the a video that surfaced Sept. 9 showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiance Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City, N.J. casino in February.
The Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and the league suspended him indefinitely after the footage became widespread.
At a Sept. 19 press conference, Goodell apologized for mishandling the Rice discipline — at first a two-game suspension. “I got it wrong on a number of levels — from the process that I led to the decision that I reached. But now I will get it right. We will get our house in order first,” he said.