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Ringer Founder Bill Simmons Says He Wishes Diversity Was ‘Bigger Priority’ in Beginning of Site

Simmons addressed criticisms of the sports site’s diversity on his podcast Friday

Bill Simmons on Friday addressed criticism of the lack of diversity in the newsroom at The Ringer, saying he wished it had been a “bigger priority” from the outset of the sports site.

On The Bill Simmons Podcast, the sports analyst and entrepreneur discussed the beginnings of the site he founded in 2016: “I wish it had been a bigger priority for us to really make a bigger commitment to diversity than we did. I think in the moment, we’re looking at stuff, you pursue certain people, it doesn’t work out.”

He added, “You feel like you’re trying and I think the moment that the country is having, in general, these last four weeks, is if you feel like you’re trying, that’s actually not good enough.”

He vowed that the site was “going to do better.”

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Simmons and The Ringer were facing criticism for a discussion held on the podcast earlier in the month where a guest described protesters as “breaking into sneaker shops” before praising Simmons for having diverse hiring practices.

The Ringer Union called the site out on June 1 for having no black editors or staff writers to cover the NFL or NBA and booking primarily white guests for the site’s associated podcasts. The Union said the site had “a lot of work to do.” Simmons, for his part, apologized.