Malcolm Gladwell thought ESPN’s suspension of Bill Simmons was out of line.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang, Gladwell was asked if suspending Simmons was the right decision. His response:
“No, it was totally the wrong decision. First of all, if a sports columnist in a podcast can’t call, you know, can’t exercise free speech– and, by the way, calling him a liar, it’s not– it’s not like it came outta nowhere. It’s, like, one reasonable conclusion from the whole Ray Rice saga was that the commissioner of the N.F.L.– knew about the existence of the videotape and was lying about it. Am I saying that that’s what he did? I don’t know. But it’s a reasonable conclusion. You know– I thought that in the course of expressin’ their opinions– sports columnists are allowed to draw conclusions. Apparently not. Apparently you get suspended for that. I thought that was an embarrassingly low moment.”
Gladwell and Simmons are friends. Gladwell has contributed stories to Grantland and appeared on Simmons’ podcast.
At the end of September, Simmons was suspended by ESPN for lashing out at the NFL’s commission and then challenging ESPN to do something about it. ESPN took the challenge.
Chang’s interview with Gladwell will air tonight.
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