When ESPN commentator Bill Simmons went on his so-called “rant” about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell being a liar, Simmons said: “I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. If one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Please, call me and say I’m in trouble, I dare you.” (italics ours.)
Simmons got what he asked for. He’s been suspended by ESPN for three weeks and muzzled: forbidden to tweet, etc. ESPN says it suspended Simmons because he didn’t “operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards.” Bill Simmons is hardly alone in believing that Roger Goodell lied about not having seen the video of Ray Rice punching his wife in the face. Simmons just said it most simply: “I think he’s lying.” ESPN had to suspend Simmons. (The NFL and ESPN have a $15 billion partnership.) Simmons knew it–that’s why he said “I dare you.” Because no amount of Simmons’ talking would draw as much attention to the issue as his enforced silence might. Simmons is unlikely to be chastened. The irony is ESPN has to hope he’s not–it’s his opinions they pay handsomely for. And what exactly did he mean when he said: “if one person says that to me, I’m going public.” Public with what? Is Simmons actually holding back information he has about Roger Goodell? Remember Simmons is a man who is careful with his words. What will Bill Simmons “go public” with after his imposed silence ends?