Not fired? Fired? Kind of fired? Doesn’t matter. Simmons will be officially out of ESPN’s restrictive net when his contract runs up later this year. And that’s probably not a bad thing for the controversial, yet fresh sports and entertainment content producer.
ESPN’s Chief Executive John Skipper released a statement saying, “I decided today that we [ESPN] are not going to renew Bill Simmon’s contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on.” Many believe, more or less, Simmons was gracefully “fired” after going on the Dan Patrick Show and saying the following in regards to Roger Goodell and his poor handling of the Patriots after the findings of the Wells Report:
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.
According to James Miller, co-author of the ESPN oral history, “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” he believes Simmons would still have a job with ESPN if he hadn’t gone on the Dan Patrick Show and used the phrase “testicular fortitude.” In Pats On Tap’s opinion, ESPN was looking for an out and they got it.
Is this an end for Simmons? Definitely no. He’ll pick up another gig quickly, if he doesn’t start out on his own. In fact, there have been plenty of examples of folks who did better without a ball and chain tied around their ankles. For example, here is an unorthodox, slightly unrelated, kind-of-but-not-really-appropriate-to-what-we’re-talking-about list of such folks:
- Laura Ingalls Wilder. Name sound familiar? Probably not. But then again, when was the last time you read “Little House on the Prairie?” Back in the ’90s? Wilder had a successful freelance career before embarking on her greatest and most lucrative journey yet–writing her famous “Prairie” books when she was 44 and “Little House in the Big Woods” when she was 64.
- Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. In 1978 the two executives were fired from Handy Dan Improvement Centers. Only a year later, they founded Home Depot. Handy Dan went out of business in 1989…….Could we see a similar fate with ESPN?(……yeah, anyways moving on.)
- Julia Child. If you are anyone, but a Generation Zer you might remember the cooking wiz with the high-pitched voice and knack to create some dazzling french cuisine–as well as anything involving butter and other awesome to make you fat. What did she do before making her famous omelet and taking the cooking world by storm? She was a top secret researcher working directly under the head of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), General William J. Donovan during World War II. For those who aren’t Americans, the OSS later became the CIA.
- Or, how about Howard Stern? The controversial talk-radio host did many things for the iconic Boston rock-radio station. That includes, as many like to believe, killing it. Folks tuned into his show and then left. It was hard to get hard-core music-goers to come back to 104.1 WBCN. The station started to air football games. Its identity had been breaking down for years. When Stern left, WBCN’s fate was sealed. Now a part of Sirius XM, Stern racks in roughly 100 million a year. He’s threatened to leave when his contract is up or plain retire. Doing so would leave about 60 percent of Sirius’ audience in flux. Why? Because reports indicate that, that is how the percentage of Sirius’ audience who listens to the former WBCN host.
So there you go. Just a bunch of people supporting each other. Carving their own paths. Leaving complacency behind