ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons for Criticizing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

ESPN has just suspended one of its most popular personalities for basically saying what everyone is thinking: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s story of why he handled the Ray Rice situation the way he did doesn’t add up.

For those unfamiliar with the on-going story, the league’s boss has faced widespread criticism after claiming to have not seen a security camera tape—and claiming to have not been given access to it—showing Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice brutally punching out his now-wife. Before TMZ made the tape public, Goodell suspended the running back for just two games (though he saw a tape of Rice dragging her unconscious body out of an Atlantic City casino elevator). Following the public outcry after the full tape’s release, Goodell banned the star indefinitely, though questions remained over how he could have gone so long without having viewed it. He’s had the tape since April.

On his podcast this week, Bill Simmons ranted (his comments were laced with profanity which was bleeped on the recording) that Goodell was lying when he claimed to have not known what was on the tape: “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying.” Simmons went on to essentially challenge his own bosses to punish him for taking the stand: “I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell … You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast … Please call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.” Unfortunately for Simmons, ESPN took him up on his challenge, suspending him for three weeks for making statements that didn’t meet the network’s “journalistic standards.” Ironically, the suspension is longer than Rice’s original punishment, and longer than the suspension the network levied on anchor Stephen A. Smith for suggesting the victim could have provoked the attack …

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