NY Times

ESPN Parting Ways With Provocative On-Air Personality

May 8, 2015  •  Post A Comment

An influential sports personality is headed out the door at ESPN, with the network’s president confirming that his contract won’t be picked up.

After months of talks between Bill Simmons and ESPN, the two sides failed to come to terms on an extension, The New York Times reports. Simmons’ current deal runs out in September, but his differences with the network are “about more than money,” according to ESPN President John Skipper.

Skipper is quoted in the report saying: “I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract. We’ve been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren’t going to get to the terms so we were better off focusing on transition.”

Skipper did not elaborate on the issues, but added: “We’ve had an excellent run with Bill, almost 15 years. It’s been good for us and good for him. It was a decision I had to make and he had to make to move forward.”

ESPN’s Grantland sports and entertainment website, which Simmons has been running, will be unaffected by his exit, according to Skipper, who’s quoted saying: “It long ago went from being a Bill Simmons site to one that can stand on its own.”

The Times notes: “The outspoken Simmons built himself into a major brand at ESPN, branching out from his base as a freewheeling columnist to host a popular weekly podcast, the ‘B.S. Report’; to create Grantland; and to play a role in the launch and success of the ’30 for 30′ documentary film series.”

Simmons has been at the center of his share of controversies at ESPN, including being suspended for three weeks last year after calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, the report notes.

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