Jonathan Mahler and Richard Sandomir on the return of Bill Simmons from his (ridiculous) suspension this week:
Simmons declined to comment. Since his suspension, he has surfaced only in snapshots on his Instagram account — Simmons at the beach, Simmons on the golf course — seemingly designed to let ESPN know that he’s enjoying his time off. But people close to Simmons say he is furious and has been talking a lot about whether ESPN is still the right place for him. He has threatened to leave ESPN before, but this is the most pitched moment yet in their fraught relationship.
The next move will indeed be interesting…
One thing that won’t be happening:
Kenneth Lerer, the co-founder of the Huffington Post and chairman of BuzzFeed, said he has never met Simmons, but thought it would be relatively easy for him to move to another large company, but infinitely more difficult to start something of his own. “Knowing what I know now,” Lerer said, “I think he should say: ‘I had a breakdown, I didn’t mean what I said. I’m back at ESPN and I love it.’ ”
Simmons may indeed come back to ESPN — he’s certainly incentivized to between salary, Grantland, 30 for 30, and soon his new NBA show. But I’d say there’s no way he comes back fully hat-in-hand. Nor should he.