We get all sorts of amazing Bill Simmons conspiracy theories sent to the email box each week.
They range from dissecting his vocal inflection during his podcast, to analyzing turns of phrase in his columns, to his masthead position on the front page — and one even asked "Did Simmons smoke a bong before his most recent podcast?".(Answer: No. He was drinking orange juice.)
But most read something like this:
Pretty interesting that Simmons' annual football preview column is buried over at ESPN.com…….not sure if the opening paragraphs on old school/new school vegas is a thinly veiled dig at ESPN burying Simmons for Reilly…..
We received another one today about his recent love letter to "The Wrestler" (Leitch thief!) in this week's ESPN the Magazine. The accompanying still photo from the movie features a sign in the background that says "Necrobutcher Sucks a Fat Dick", which is also prominently displayed on the website and the front of Page 2. A mere oversight by the web editor or another subtle dig at Shawshank by Simmons?
Probably a coincidence. However, the timing of such Fat Dickery is a little amusing considering Simmons was just enlightened about the new "guidebook" for writers by ESPN's ombudsman Leanne Schreiber. Here are some grouchy Sports Fella quotes from "The Sports Guy Dilemma" section of her most recent column:
When I told Simmons about the guidebook in progress, he said, "You mean they are planning on cracking down?"
When I suggested he think of it as clarifying rather than cracking down, he said, "So I'm writing a column and I have to consult the rule book."
I reversed field and asked him what he found most troublesome about writing for ESPN.com.
"When you are supposed to push the envelope," Simmons said, "but you are afraid of the repercussions of every decision, I think it affects you. I don't really blame the editors, because those guys aren't really sure where the lines are anymore, so they're going to take stuff out that is anywhere close to the line. But if you're going to take something out, the reason can't be 'We'd rather be safe than sorry.' You have to put some thought into it and say, 'If this stays in, what are the potential repercussions?'"
So, Leanne Schreiber is the"The Necrobutcher." Makes perfect sense. She needs a nickname anyway.
ESPN can have rules, Edge [ESPN.com]