Did ESPN Muzzle the Sports Guy On Twitter?

I’m not sure you can call it a suspension from Twitter if the guy supposedly being suspended is, you know, still tweeting. But there are rumors that ESPN has ordered Sports Guy columnist Bill Simmons — currently on the road promoting his massive tome, The Book of Basketball — not to tweet for two weeks.

Page 2 - ESPN_1258754502743.pngIt started with The Big Lead, an independent sports blog which wrote:

Bill Simmons had a book signing in Beaverton, Oregon last night, and a reader who attended wrote in that he “overheard” ESPN’s Sports Guy telling a fan that he was “suspended from tweeting for two weeks” and that all he was allowed to tweet about was his book tour. We went to the usually-forthcoming Simmons this morning, and here was his response: “no commento.”

From there it got picked up by NBCSports.com Out of Bounds blogger Rick Chandler, who seems to have found a smoking gun:

[A]pparently it was this Twitter jab at WEEI, a sports radio station in Boston, that caused the little red revolving lights to start spinning at ESPN headquarters. Very naughty, Bill! Didn’t you know that ESPN and WEEI recently signed an affiliation deal?

The tweet Chandler refers to is this one:

Hey WEEI: You were wrong, I did a Boston interview today. With your competition. Rather give them ratings over deceitful scumbags like you.

The thing is, since that tweet sent on Nov. 10, Simmons has tweeted 45 times. Unless they’re being done by a ghost tweeter.

I’m tempted to dismiss the whole thing, but then there’s this: The Big Lead uploaded a video interview (below) with Simmons in Portland, where in response to a fan saying “we didn’t get any tweets,” Simmons replied, “That’s a whole other story, why you didn’t get any tweets. …No comment on the tweets.”

You don’t “no comment on the tweets” unless there’s something going on with the tweets.

ESPN's Bill Simmons talks Portland, his book and the Trail Blazers