Tom Brady is going to be suspended by the NFL and Bill Simmons is going to be fired by ESPN.
Tom Brady will be the highest-profile player ever suspended in the 96-year history of the NFL. Roger Goodell’s decision is expected to be announced next week, and it is no longer a matter of if the NFL commissioner will suspend Brady, but for how long he will suspend him. In conversations I’ve had with several key sources who always have a good sense of what goes on at 345 Park Ave., there is little doubt that Goodell considers Brady’s role in DeflateGate a serious violation.
The NFL is convinced, according to sources, that connecting all the
dots of the evidence supplied by Ted Wells leads to one conclusion: Brady cheated.
Peter King made a good point about the fact that most of the evidence of Brady’s guilt is circumstantial: ex-Patriot Aaron Hernandez was recently found guilty of murder and convicted to life in prison on the basis of circumstantial evidence. Speaking of Roger Goodell, one imagines that he might have had a little something to do with ESPN’s otherwise inexplicable decision to rid themselves of The Sports Guy:
When Bill Simmons learned on Friday morning that his nearly 15-year-old relationship with ESPN was over, he responded with something uncharacteristic: silence. He
said nothing to his 3.7 million followers on Twitter. He did not pick
up the phone or answer requests for comment. His agent and publicist
followed his sounds of silence.
decision not to respond to the announcement by John Skipper, the
president of ESPN, that his contract was not being renewed was
surprising. He had built an empire on having his voice heard, often
quite loudly, in a variety of roles: columnist, podcaster, editor in
chief of the website Grantland, television analyst, and one of the
creators of the “30 for 30” documentary series.
seemed to have been blindsided by the timing of ESPN’s decision, which
came more than four months before his contract is to expire, at the end
of September. An ESPN executive, who was not authorized to speak
publicly, said Skipper had told Simmons’s agent, James Dixon, that a
decision had been made to end the relationship and that an announcement
was coming. But Skipper did not call Simmons before going public, the
ESPN executive said.
In an interview Friday morning, Skipper said: “I’ve decided that I’m not
going to renew his contract. We’ve been talking to Bill, and it was
clear that we weren’t going to get to the terms, so we were better off
focusing on transition.”
I’m actually glad to see Simmons leaving ESPN. He’ll not only do fine without them, I expect him to be more interesting again once he’s free of the corporate leash. Don’t fear freedom, Bill!
UPDATE: This is apparently the phrase that sealed Simmons’s fate.
I think it’s pathetic. Roger Goodell has handled so many things so
poorly that it’s reached a point now where you have something like this,
where it’s taken four months to release the report, and he knew
everything that was in it. He knows the results before the report is
released to the public, and yet doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to
do anything about it until he gauges the public reaction.
I’m wondering if it was less the criticism of Goodell and more the reference to manhood being a positive thing that more offended the ESPN executives who cut him loose. One thing is clear. They did NOT like him: “Ding Dong the witch is dead.” (That’s how one ESPN staffer describes the vibe in Bristol.) And it is perfectly clear that while his politics lean left, he is no SJW.