Simmons broke one of ESPN’s 10 Social Networking Commandments, and it earned him a little company-imposed break from tweeting: thou shalt not talk smack about ESPN on Twitter. Well, I’m paraphrasing. Here’s what the rule actually is, according to the ESPN employee handbook: “Keep internal deliberations confidential. Do not discuss how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced; stories or features in progress; interviews conducted; or any future coverage plans.” And here’s the video (and subsequent Tweet) that got him in trouble.
I am not defending this segment – youtu.be/j6x-O3kb1sI – I thought it was awful and embarrassing to everyone involved. Seriously.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 8, 2013
Bill, c’mon. What were you thinking? You know you can’t comment on the idiot circus that is First Take. That’s what we’re here for, dude. We can say whatever we want about the damn show. Let this be a reminder that you work for Disney, and in effect, signed a gag order not to bitch about Mickey and Donald and Yosemite Skip (I know, that’s a Warner Bros. reference, but you get the point.) Imagine if Shepard Smith commented on every stupid thing that came out of Fox and Friends. Exactly.
In Simmons defense, First Take has become the Jerry Springer Show, and Simmons is a very intelligent, unabashed analyst, who brings a great deal of integrity to ESPN. Hell, they probably brought him onboard to balance out the integrity they’re hemorrhaging from their morning shit show. What’s more, there’s something fundamentally wrong with a news channel injecting itself into the subject they’re covering through inane, 7th grade-esque, on-air pissing contests. Let’s just hope the doesn’t deter Bill Simmons from speaking his mind in the future.