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ESPN Parts Ways with Bill Simmons

Minutes ago, news broke that longtime sportswriting icon Bill Simmons will leave ESPN after contract negotiations between him and the network fell through.

The New York Times reports that Simmons, one of the network’s “most influential sports personalities” and the founder of Grantland, will leave at the end of his contract in September.

In an interview with the Times, the president of ESPN said that it was simply a business matter:

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract,” said John Skipper, the president of ESPN. “We’ve been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren’t going to get to the terms so we were better off focusing on transition.”

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.

It is unclear what the next step for Simmons, who recently was suspended for calling out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, will be.

[h/t SportsGrid]
[Image via screenshot/ESPN]

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