ESPN president John Skipper blasted Bill Simmons, saying he ended their relationship because of “repeated lack of respect.”
Simmons contributed to ESPN’s success during his 14-year run with the company, serving as a writer, editor, podcaster, host, analyst and even executive producer of the famed “30 for 30” series, but the two parties separated last year when they could not come to terms on a new contract. Simmons has since suggested his contract was allowed to lapse after he criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Bill would rather spin conspiracy theories and be perceived as a martyr than take responsibility for his own actions,” Skipper said in a statement to The New York Times on Sunday. “Let me be unequivocal and clear and take responsibility for my actions: I alone made the decision, and it had nothing to do with his comments about the commissioner.”
Skipper might not mind that Simmons disrespected Roger Goodell, but he clearly doesn’t appreciate disrespect of ESPN and its employees.
“I severed our relationship with Bill because of his repeated lack of respect for this company and, more importantly, the people who work here,” he said.
Simmons’ new HBO show, “Any Given Wednesday,” premieres June 22 and his website, The Ringer, has officially launched.