Bill Simmons, the former ESPN commentator let go by the network on May 8 one day after he ripped the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for concealing the contents of the Wells Report regarding Deflategate, ripped his former employers on his new podcast.
Simmons blustered, “Granted, I’m a little biased here.… The way everyone else was covering Roger Goodell in this whole story versus the way ESPN covered it, it was embarrassing. I couldn’t believe nobody called out ESPN about it.”
Simmons rage heightened from a simmer to a boil: “You have Dan Wetzel at Yahoo, you had Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, you had all the people in Boston, you had different radio personalities, and people really going after how the NFL was handling this, how Goodell was handling this, all this stuff. Especially in the weeks after the broken cell phone thing, when it came out that they had obviously leaked stuff and something really legitimately shady was going on, and yet if you went to ESPN you didn’t see anything…. It’s hard to come away from that and not think that ESPN is in the bag for the NFL, because they were.”
In May, Simmons was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show. He and Patrick agreed that the NFL was gauging public reaction to the Wells Report before the league decided what kind of penalties should be issued to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. After Patrick stated, “They’re basing things off of reaction now, and they never used to do that. So the tail wags the dog with the NFL, which is kind of surprising,” Simmons fumed:
I’ll go further than you. I think it’s pathetic. He has handled so many things so badly — Roger Goodell — that it’s reached a point now where you have something like this, where it took four months to release the report, and he knew everything that was in it. He knows the results before the report is released to the public, and yet doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to do anything until he gauges the public reaction.
Simmons pointed out he was not in the tank for Brady, noting, “He just handled it badly. And I don’t know how you fix that. Because, as you know, this is a very unforgiving sports culture in 2015. It’s all about extremes. Everything’s either the best or the worst. You’re either the most dishonest person ever, or you’re the best person ever. This is just the way sports is now. This is how we consume it.”