Bill Simmons learned that his contract with ESPN wouldn’t be renewed on Twitter, the network’s president John Skipper confirmed on Tuesday, according to Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter.
Deadspin’s Greg Howard first reported that that’s how it went down on Friday.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir broke the news with this tweet:
BIll SImmons to leave ESPN, according to ESPN president John Skipper. “We weren’t going to get to the terms,” said Skipper.
— Richard Sandomir (@RichSandomir) May 8, 2015
Simmons’ contract with the network runs through the end of September. It’s unclear if he’ll stay on until the end of his deal. He hasn’t commented on Skipper’s decision to let his contract expire, only tweeting some links to Super Bowl YouTube videos after the Tom Brady suspension was announced.
A Vanity Fair article by ESPN biographer James Andrew Miller that was published over the weekend makes it sounds like Simmons has been on the outs with ESPN since December, when the network docked him two weeks pay right before Christmas as part of the suspension that came months earlier:
The suspension was supposed to include a two-week dock in pay, but when he looked at his paychecks afterward, Simmons could hardly help noticing that the checks were for the usual amount. He interpreted this as ESPN holding out an olive branch; the public censure had been just for show, Simmons thought; there was no financial penalty after all.
That might have smoothed things out between Simmons and management — but on December 19, Simmons opened his pay envelope and was not pleased. Two weeks’ worth of salary wasn’t there: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Simmons — here’s your lump of coal.” Simmons had had enough. The chances of him staying at ESPN from that point onward became less and less probable.
The working relationship between Simmons and ESPN wasn’t exactly smooth at times, and the breakup hasn’t been either. Skipper says thing are fine between them, though:
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