NYU Student Newspaper Editor: ‘Bill Simmons Deserves Better Than ESPN’

New York University student sports fan Omar Etman says he will follow Bill Simmons anywhere — including if he leaves ESPN.

As all sports and journalism junkies know, Simmons is a sports media demigod — amassing a tremendous, rabid fan-base for his popular columns, BS Report podcast, Grantland sports and pop culture news site and the best-seller “The Book of Basketball.”

“His conversational commentary, which is fast-paced and historically informed, feels wonderfully personal,” Etman argues in a new op-ed for The Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper. “More fundamentally, it is always clear that Simmons cares about sports and the people involved.”

In the midst of the recent Ray Rice scandal and the NFL’s initially inept responses, Simmons unleashed a rant on his podcast that included calling league commissioner Roger Goodell a liar. ESPN responded by suspending him for three weeks, a harsh punishment that has fueled speculation Simmons might be interested in and better off operating outside the ESPN bubble.

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According to Etman, WSN’s deputy opinion editor, Simmons is one of the few media figures popular and powerful enough to pull off a personal-brand start-up.

As he writes:

“ESPN has a journalistic responsibility to its readers and viewers to deliver honest news, but ESPN’s treatment of one of its most respected voices proves that the company values Simmons’ profitability more than Simmons himself. His departure, however unlikely, is understandably overdue — for most sports writers, ESPN is the pinnacle of the industry. But Simmons is not most sports writers. He is the best modern sports commentator, truly The Sports Guy. He should create an independent platform to house his existing media empire, one that emphasizes good reporting over revenue. I know my friends and I will follow him there.”

What do you think?

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