When you’re an aspiring blogger from Worcester then Bill Simmons is pretty much your idol. Back in my younger days of riding the turtle I used to devour this guy’s columns. He pretty much invented sports takes from a fans perspective. He was authentic, well-written, and most importantly had “the voice.” He sounded like he was having a conversation with you as you read his stuff. Plus he was an unabashed, completely biased Boston fan and he went to school in Worcester. The man was my hero.
Since then he’s kind of been a sellout. Now that he’s a regular on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, he has nothing interesting to say. All he does is talk about obscure references to some random game in the 2002 NBA playoffs, as if we all know what the fuck he’s talking about. Because let’s be honest, if you work for ESPN you’re not really afforded the right to dish out hot takes. You are nothing more than a monkey on a leash.
So that’s why this story has become such big headlines:
Bill Simmons has been suspended by ESPN for three weeks for blasting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice situation in a recent podcast. Simmons used profane language (fuck) to call Goodell a liar for his responses to questions about the NFL’s investigation of Rice during a press conference last week. Simmons started his rant by saying, “Not enough is being made of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what it was on it. Goodell, if he doesn’t know what was on that tape, is a liar.”
Simmons ended his rant by daring ESPN to punish him:
“I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. If one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Please, call me and say I’m in trouble, I dare you.”
Alright, first of all, do I need to point out how fucking stupid this is? Bill Simmons, the most influential voice in sports, gets suspended for pointing out that Roger Goodell is a liar. Everyone knows Roger Goodell is a liar, but for some reason Simmons can’t say that? Yea, that makes a shit ton of sense. Then again, it’s ESPN – a station who specializes in cold politically correct takes.
More importantly, this is the most obvious publicity stunt I have ever seen. Not enough is being made of the fact that Goodell knew what was on the Ray Rice tape? YYYYYEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAA!!!! Sure thing Bill. It’s only been the most talked about punch in the history of domestic abuse. Besides that he’s right – no one is talking about this. Who the hell is Ray Rice anyway?
Look, I’ve seen this trick before. This is like straight out of the Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern school of shock jockism. This is what you do when your ratings are down. You publicly challenge your boss by breaking the rules and saying the “f” word on a podcast. Then you get punished and morons on Twitter start trending #freesimmons. Now when you come back you’re a tragic hero. You took one for the team and defended free speech despite being held back by The Man.
I mean, look what happened this summer at WEEI. Kirk Minihane called Erin Andrews a “gutless bitch,” and followed that up with an “apology” where he pointed out that she would be a waitress at Perkins if she was 15 pounds heavier. Obviously this is true, but it was against PC protocol so he took a one week suspension in defense of free speech for the team.
It worked out perfectly. That is the only time slot where WEEI beats 98.5 in the ratings. People like provocative drama. We don’t wanna hear some 38 year old carpetbaggers talk about their favorite Van Halen albums on Toucher and Rich. People wanna turn in to hear what Minihane would say when he got back from the hole.
And he’s not the only one to use this genius formula. Dan LeBatard, Scott Van Pelt, Jemele Hill, Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and countless others have taken suspensions on purpose in order to get their names out there.
It’s page views 101. Which brings me to my next point – I need to get suspended. Turtleboy Sports is growing by the day, but I can’t always count on a story like Busgate 2014 getting tossed in my lap. No, if I wanna REAL pick up the traffic around here I need to do something outrageous. I need to get suspended from Turtleboy Sports.
The problem is of course that I run Turtleboy Sports. Suspending yourself is NOT a good look. I need one of my interns to step up to the plate and challenge me in a blog. I need one of my bloggers to call me a misogynist or transphobic or something. I need to be publicly called out and challenged one of my subordinates, and then I need to follow that up with swift Turtleboy justice and censorship.
If you have any idea for publicity stunts we can stage I’m all ears. Leave em in the comments or message me on the Book.