One of the most interesting characters to emerge from the ESPN book is the formerly inscrutable Bill Simmons, if only because we've never heard him be so (openly) self-aware before. He again whips out the big swinging dick in some more excerpts.
Spoiler alert: Bill Simmons doesn't like a lot of his colleagues. We wanted to share that insight with you before you go and drop $28 on lots of pages about heresy. (But do buy it anyway. There's much more of this.)
On Mike Tirico, for failing to accommodate Tony Kornheiser in the MNF booth:
If I was [Kornheiser]...and I had this guy with me who was subtly undermining me, changing the subject on me and greeting my jokes with dead silence, I would eventually strangle this person on live TV.
Tirico doesn't sell Tony for three fucking years, then has the gall to say nice things about him after Tony leaves? Come on...Five minutes into their first regular-season Monday night game, Tirico had already laughed at more Gruden jokes than he did for three years of Kornheiser. I never thought he wanted Tony in the booth, and that became obvious...He failed Kornheiser.
On the general irrelevance of ESPN announcers:
Nobody on the planet watches a sports game for the fucking announcers. ... Mike Tirico could leave tomorrow and we could replace him with Mike Greenberg or one of forty other guys, and the ratings would not budge .00001. Nobody watches for Mike Tirico. Zero. No one.
On Chris Berman:
I know [John Walsh is] Catholic and he was very concerned about the F-bomb and stuff like that. And he did talk me into taking out some of the F-bombs and a couple other small things. I had a nice Chris Berman joke, which — God forbid he's ever discussed.
On ESPN leadership:
They've reached a point now where they have code words, and if you hit the code word, it just comes out. ... Gay? Out. Jew? Out. Hitler? Out. If Matt Berry wants to talk about his "five hottest Jews in the draft"? Out. Not discussion, just out. ... I worry about ESPN becoming too conservative. ... Sometimes I wonder if they're willing to look the other way unless it ends up in the Sports Business Journal — if it gets in there, they know George [Bodenheimer] is going to see it.
On leaving ESPN, if he ever did:
I need to not deal with Bristol as much. Nothing against Bristol, but I do worry that it becomes a little cultish after a while. ... At the cafeteria, there's Mike and Mike getting a sandwich and there's Matthew Berry and, hey, there's Mark Schlereth. ... I am not afraid to leave. If it happens, I will kill myself trying to haunt them somewhere else.
Oh, this poor, tormented soul. Simmons can consider this a friendly reminder that he can always come back to the other (underpaid) side.