“Don’t get fired.”
That’s the mantra over at Grantland when Jalen Rose and David Jacoby weigh in on a controversial topic during one of their wide-ranging and always-entertaining podcasts.
More than just pithy words of wisdom, the saying eventually began to feel like a thin blue line someone would inevitably cross if they got on the air and talked long enough about various hot-button issues. Nobody thought that someone would be Grantland Editor-in-Chief himself Bill Simmons. But that’s precisely what happened Monday during his podcast, The B.S. Report, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the recent Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, during which a surveillance video of Rice brutally punching his then-fiancée and knocking her unconscious in a hotel elevator surfaced and subsequently went viral.
Before the video became public, Goodell had given Rice what was widely seen as a slap-on-the-wrist (a paltry two-game suspension) and has long maintained that he and other NFL executives had not seen what transpired on said video surveillance footage until the video erupted onto the internet recently, although several unnamed sources within the NFL front offices have claimed otherwise.
“Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar,” Simmons said. “I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. For all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such f–king bullsh-t. It really is. It’s such f–king bullsh-t. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”
But he didn’t stop there. He went on to basically dare his bosses at ESPN to censor him for his comments, which evidently didn’t sit well with network execs.
“I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” Simmons said. “Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The Commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. . . .Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.”
ESPN, who it should be noted has a nearly $2 billion broadcast deal with the NFL, ultimately decided to suspend Simmons for three weeks, citing a breach of the network’s journalistic ethos.