From New York Times media reporter Richard Sandomir, ESPN mainstay and Grantland founder Bill Simmons is on his way out:
Here is the statement from John Skipper:
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial - he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”
That statement is more than a little salty. Simmons’s contract is up at the end of September, and reports of negotiations over the last year (both public and private) have hinted the two sides are far apart. Those negotiations are apparently over.
And here’s the full Times story. It’s told entirely from ESPN’s point of view, and contains oh so much shade:
Skipper said that the differences between the company and Simmons were “about more than money,” although he would not offer details. He added: “We’ve had an excellent run with Bill, almost 15 years. It’s been good for us and good for him. It was a decision I had to make and he had to make to move forward.”
Grantland, the sports and entertainment site run by Simmons for ESPN, will be unaffected by his departure, Skipper said.
“It long ago went from being a Bill Simmons site to one that can stand on its own,” Skipper said.