Grantland Founder Bill Simmons is none-too-pleased with ESPN’s apparent abrupt closure of his former website, which was suspended “effective immediately” on Friday.
“I loved everyone I worked with at G and loved what we built. Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling,” Simmons tweeted shortly after news of the shuttering broke.
Approximately 40 people will be affected by the closure, including full-time staff, contract writers and freelancers.
Some Grantland contributors found out the ESPN.com spinoff site’s fate via Twitter today, where fans instantly exploded with shock and disgust over the dismantling. “Grantland” skyrocketed to the top of the United States Trends chart.
Simmons and ESPN had parted ways in May after battling publicly over the blogger, podcaster and TV host’s criticism of his Disney employer. Chris Connelly took over as Grantland’s editor-in-chief following the contentious Simmons exodus.
Self-proclaimed Sports Guy Simmons signed a multi-year multi-platform deal with HBO in July that includes a new weekly series debuting in 2016.
Grantland, named after famed 20th century sportswriter Grantland Rice, was launched in 2011.
Read Simmons’ tweet below.
Here’s ESPN’s full statement sealing the website’s fate:
Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland. After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.
Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun. We are grateful to those who made it so. Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent. Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.
Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.