Now that Bill Simmons’ infamous three-week suspension is is over, the focus turns to whether Simmons will continue his relationship with ESPN after his contract expires next year.
Simmons was suspended September 24 after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar on his podcast and — perhaps most importantly — essentially dared his bosses at ESPN to punish him for it. The suspension led to waves of speculation about Simmons’ future with the network that has made him one of the most prominent people in sports media.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Has A Lot Of Support
The ladies of The View came out in support of Simmons, even though their show is on ABC, a sister network of ESPN.
Even more celebrities and journalists came out in support on Twitter, creating the hashtag #freesimmons.
Deadspin even offered him a job.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) October 9, 2014
2. A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words
Simmons kept silent throughout his suspension, only posting occasional pictures on Instagram. The pictures appeared to be a direct message to his bosses at ESPN, letting them know he was enjoying the time off.
3. This Might Be The End Of ESPN and Bill Simmons’ Relationship
Simmons’ contract is up next year and there’s speculation that he’ll walk away from ESPN and his $5MM a year salary and try to venture off on his own. It would be a risky move, even for someone with as large of a following as Simmons. Without the backing of a media giant like ESPN, it’s unclear whether Simmons could pull in his own traffic considering his website, Grantland.com, barely reaches 5 million visitors a month. Significantly less than his competitors at Deadspin and SB Nation.
4. ESPN Wasted No Time Publishing Simmons’ Content
Videos of Simmons and Jalen Rose discussing the 76ers and Utah Jazz were posted to Grantland exactly 60 seconds after he was set free. However, it’s unclear if these videos were filmed before or after his suspension started.
5. Everyone’s Waiting For His First Tweet
At this very moment, Simmons still hasn’t broken his Twitter silence. The anticipation of what his first 140 characters will say is building as fans, media personalities and men wearing expensive suits in Bristol, CT sit and wait with baited breath.