The ripple effects from Deflategate, a story immune to the inevitability of death, continue to make waves in areas far past Foxborough, Massachusetts. It’s a story that has grown, mutated and become an able-bodied monstrosity. Even as we sit nine months removed from those mischievous ball boys deflating footballs in the underbelly of Gillette Stadium, the discussion of Deflategate still persists. More specifically, the discussion around how the media covered the NFL’s mismanagement of the situation.
Bill Simmons—risen from the ashes of his fallout with ESPN—recently launched his brand new podcast, which had previously been a hit at the worldwide leader. Simmons wasted no time discussing the McCarthyist aroma surrounding Roger Goodell’s investigation of the Patriots and the tepid manner in which ESPN covered it:
“Granted, I’m a little biased here since my experiences at ESPN the last two years. But the way everyone else was covering Goodell’s role in this story versus the way ESPN covered it, it was embarrassing. And I couldn’t believe no one called out ESPN about it. You have Dan Wetzel at Yahoo, you had Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, you had all the people in Boston, you had different radio personalities, and people really going after how the NFL was handling this, how Goodell was handling this, all this stuff. Especially in the weeks after the broken cellphone thing, when it came out that they had obviously leaked stuff and something really legitimately shady was going on, and yet if you went to ESPN, you didn’t see anything…
“It’s hard to come away from that and not think that ESPN is in the bag for the NFL, because they were.”
Although his Patriots fandom shines through his work, Simmons isn’t alone in his criticism of ESPN’s coverage of Deflategate. The network works closely with the omnipotent NFL, and their work reflected that. Nonetheless, Simmons has moved on to HBO, where he will host a weekly show where he will surely discuss more Deflategate.