ESPN Hit with Avalanche of Criticism for Bizarrely Editing Video Clip To Snub Ex-Employee


It seemed like the frigid relationship between ESPN and former employee Bill Simmons had thawed in recent years.

Simmons has appeared on the podcast of ESPN’s Zach Lowe and vice versa, and his website The Ringer hosts the podcast of long-time ESPN radio host Ryen Russillo.

But after “The Worldwide Leader” purposely edited Simmons out of an interview it recently aired, it’s clear that there is still acrimony, at least on ESPN’s side.

Simmons interviewed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Friday at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. ESPN showed clips of the interview but deliberately zoomed in on Silver so Simmons was left out of the picture.

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Simmons took note of ESPN’s petty move and pointed it out in a tweet to his nearly 6 million Twitter followers.

“They should have just replaced me with a hologram of Rachel Nichols,” he said.

Many people on social media mocked ESPN for the move.

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Richard Deitsch of The Athletic said ESPN issued a statement on the matter:

“There is absolutely nothing to this. It’s a non-story. We ran clips of Adam Silver with Bill Simmons on ESPN shows/platforms.”

ESPN’s pettiness somewhat overshadowed the interesting interview Simmons had with Silver at Sloan. The commissioner touched on a number of topics, including the mental state of players today.

Do you think it was childish for ESPN to edit Simmons out of that clip?

Silver said he sometimes can sense unhappiness or isolation when meeting players.

“If you’re around a team in this day and age, there are always headphones on,” he said, according to “(The players) are isolated, and they have their heads down.’’

“When I meet with them, what surprises me is that they’re truly unhappy,” Silver said. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.”

“We are living in a time of anxiety,” he said, according to ESPN. “I think it’s a direct result of social media.”

“I’m an anxious person myself,” Silver said, joking a little. “That’s why the players like talking to me.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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