Bill Simmons had a book signing in Beaverton, Oregon last night, and a reader who attended wrote in that he “overheard” ESPN’s Sports Guy telling a fan that he was “suspended from tweeting for two weeks” and that all he was allowed to tweet about was his book tour. We went to the usually-forthcoming Simmons this morning, and here was his response: “no commento.”
We’ve been sifting through Simmons’ twitter to try and understand what ESPN could possibly have “suspended” him for, and we’ve got nothing. Digs at Dan Dierdorf? Gambling? A boobs reference to Paranormal Activity? It all seems pretty docile, unless ESPN is upset that Simmons aggressively attacks (deservedly, in our opinion) the ineptness of Mike Dunleavy.
We have internal guidelines designed to inform how we discuss the topic of sports media. These guidelines are important us, because they help maintain the credibility with which ESPN operates.
No one knows the guidelines better than Bill Simmons, and he customarily works within these standards. He also understands, as does everyone else at ESPN, that we regard these guidelines as being equally important when participating in social media.
While it’s unfortunate — and sometimes painful — that not everyone outside of ESPN chooses to play by such rules, we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards. Regardless of the provocation, Bill’s communication regarding WEEI fell short of those standards. So we’ve taken appropriate measures.
While the suspension is short of a canning, in October we asked King, “What does Bill Simmons have to do to get fired?” and talked about his “pushing the line” of with company’s policies. The answer was similar to his blog post. Frankly, Simmons, because of his importance to the company, is given a lot of leeway. That said, King gives him that leeway with the understanding that Simmons knows his limits, and “has his trust.”