Bill Simmons, the Foul-Mouthed Editor of Grantland, Needs a Journalistic Intervention

Katie Ledecky, 15, with her gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. Photograph courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons.

By Jack Limpert

Bill Simmons, editor-in-chief of Grantland, an ESPN website, has been suspended for three weeks  because of what he said about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on a podcast:

“I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit. It really is—it’s such fucking bullshit.”

Okay, it’s intemperate but Goodell is a very highly paid, very public figure and you can call it robust debate on a subject of public interest.

If Goodell’s “fucking bullshit” is worth suspending Simmons for three weeks, I’d argue that a Grantland story a few days earlier was worth three months. That September 19 Grantland story was about Katie Ledecky, a young woman who won a swimming gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. Ledecky, then 15-years-old, was in her freshman year at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic high school in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ledecky, now 17, continues to study for her classes, train hard,  and break freestyle swimming records as she prepares to graduate from high school and get ready for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. She’s the definition of a nice Catholic girl, a young woman who works hard at her studies (she’ll be going to Stanford) and her swimming.

The September 19 Grantland story had no quotes from Ledecky; it was just the author watching her on television, admiring her swimming, and trying very hard to manufacture controversy.

And then a Grantland editor probably thought: This is an overwritten and lame story about a nice Catholic girl who swims fast. How about this as a headline?

This is Katie F—ing Ledecky: A Thesis About Kicking Ass

Maybe they used the dashes in deference to the nuns at Stone Ridge. But the f—ing head does show how desperate for attention the editors at Grantland are.








  1. Agree. I didn’t know about that till now. I loved Simmons’ writing about the Sox’ run for the title in ’04. I don’t think he’s much of an NBA analyst. Some people can handle getting big. Apparently, he can’t.

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