As we reported weeks ago, our senior editor, Tommy Craggs, was verbally offered a position by Grantland.com to be a writer/columnist but the deal was shelved when he obliterated Page 2 "editor" Lynn Hoppes on Deadspin. The above video is roughly the point where the deal fell apart.
Some background: After the Hoppes post, some of the Grantland/ESPN higher-ups grew even more skeptical about his hiring, and John Walsh, ESPN's executive VP, wanted to sit down with Mr. Craggs and express his misgivings in person. But the meeting was then postponed, apparently for legitimate reasons and not because of my story about how moronic and hypocritical Grantland was being about the move. Eventually the meeting between Craggs and Walsh did happen — at the fancypants Essex House near Central Park at 11:30 a.m. — but it did not alleviate either man's doubts about the other. A source close to the situation says that Walsh's concerns centered on Craggs's treatment of ESPN employees in his writing — Colin Cowherd and Rick Reilly®, perhaps? — as if out of a real fear that one day they all might awkwardly encounter each other in the lunchline at the ESPN cafeteria.
Walsh also said he was bothered that the date of their first meeting was published in Deadspin and asked Tommy to promise no details of the meeting had been or would be divulged. Then a person dressed in a pink gorilla costume came marching in. Oops.
Now, just to be clear, Tommy had told me about his meeting with Walsh out of courtesy to Deadspin. Although Tommy was a little unnerved at all the melodrama his post on Lynn Hoppes had caused with Grantland, he was still hopeful that the meeting with Walsh would end with a friendly handshake and an offer letter in the near future. And I, too, was hopeful that it would go well and I was fully supportive of him making this move. I was going to be a gentleman about this, even though certain members of Grantland were not on several occasions. I do not have John Walsh's email, and I thought that a letter mailed to Bristol with Deadspin's return address would immediately get tossed in the incinerator. Instead, I called up a singing telegram service in NYC to drop off a hand-delivered note. The woman on the phone took my order over the phone and repeated back to me the important pieces of information to pass along to her performer: "Essex House. 11:30. Albino man. Pink gorilla singing SportsCenter theme song. Two balloons. Got it," she said. "And what would you like the note to say?"
Have a good lunch!
"Great! With the balloons, that'll come to $159.61."
As you can tell in the video, this pink gorilla was a bit frazzled. Not only did she botch the SportsCenter theme song a bit, but she also forgot the balloons. It didn't matter, though, because the message found its way into the hands of John Walsh.
And now, I'm happy to announce that Mr. Craggs has officially pulled out of contention for a job at Grantland.com — a job that, perhaps, wasn't even going to be offered — and he will stay on here. Because if it wasn't clear in the New York Times Magazine piece about Simmons this morning, Grantland.com is still on a long leash attached to Bristol. That's not changing anytime soon. A source close to the situation reports that Craggs is fine with the turn of events, that this was his decision and his alone, that he is "proud to work for an editor who sends singing pink gorillas into the Essex House," and that he wishes Grantland the very best of luck.
Craggs had no comment.
Some more news: The mysterious Masked Man will be writing for Grantland.com. But the Dead Wrestler of the Week column will also stay here. Plus, we'll be joined by two more hires in upcoming weeks: Dom Cosentino, our Yinzer correspondent, will come aboard as Deadspin's do-everything editorial assistant on July 11. And later this month, Tom Scocca of Slate will become Deadspin's managing editor. Plus, everyone else on this remarkable staff is staying here. And some of us are appearing on Jason Whitlock's podcast tomorrow, so be sure to tune in for that.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go ahead and drop this microphone.