Bill Simmons Takes Issue With Variety Mention

Senior TV editor Brian Steinberg riles The Ringer maestro.

There are a number of ways a media figure or celebrity can object to press coverage. These include telephoning the author or broadcaster, emailing or going straight to one of the journalist’s superiors.

On Monday, Bill Simmons chose the more immediate avenue of Twitter and Variety’s senior TV editor Brian Steinberg was somewhat non-plussed. At issue for the Grantland and The Ringer maestro is the latter portion of this paragraph in Steinberg’s write-up about ESPN’s The Undefeated:

Despite the fact that the bulk of its revenue comes from advertising and affiliate fees, ESPN has been pushing more aggressively into digital-content realms. The company also operates FiveThirtyEight, the stats-and-politics site led by Nate Silver, and had gained a lot of notice for Grantland, a sports and culture site led by Bill Simmons. The two parted ways last year after their relationship had appeared in public to become more contentious. Grantland has since been shuttered, with Simmons importing a number of its former staffers to work on a new site, The Ringer. Other former editorial personnel are now holding forth at MTV’s revived MTV News.

If you scroll down to the comments section for Steinberg’s Variety item, there is no hint of the outcry. However, on Twitter, it’s a different story, with Steinberg answering some of the Simmons faithful as late as an hour ago, press time. We’re not taking sides here; it may have been a case of Simmons overreacting, Steinberg operating within the compressed confines of Internet deadlines, or both.

Speaking of The Undefeated, although the official site launch date is in May, content is starting to trickle in. If you are at all a Kobe Bryant fan, the Ramona Shelburne interview piece posted today is a must-Mamba read.