How would you feel if you learned through social media that your employer wasn’t keeping you around? Well, that’s exactly what ESPN’s Bill Simmons went through last Friday, as the network’s president John Skipper confirmed on Tuesday that Simmons found out he would no longer be at ESPN when the New York Times tweeted the report Friday after speaking with Skipper.
Skipper added on Tuesday that the decision to not renew Simmons’ contract was “all business,” but did not comment on the possibility of ESPN and Simmons’ negotiating an exit agreement. Simmons’ contract of $5 million lasts until this fall. Skipper also added that “all is cordial” between the two, but a source tells the Hollywood Reporter that Skipper’s unexpected announcement left Simmons “reeling.” Simmons has remained quiet on Twitter about the announcement — his last three tweets since are YouTube videos that relate to the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win last season that were posted after the NFL announced its four-game suspension of Tom Brady for deflating footballs.
Simmons’ 14 years at ESPN were incredibly successful ones, highlighted by co-creating the network’s hit documentary series 30 for 30, as well as launching the highly popular Grantland website. But the tenure wasn’t without bumps along the way — Simmons had been suspended from the network as well as banned from Twitter a couple times following harsh criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goddell on his podcast, as well as criticizing the network’s show First Take. It is unclear where Simmons will end up, and whether or not his new job will require more of a digital or on-air presence.