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#FreeSimmons Is Trending on Twitter in Support of Suspended ESPN Journalist

Bill Simmons sounded off on NFL commissioner

Bill Simmons, editor in chief of Grantland.com, got suspended for sounding off on the NFL commissioner. Photo: Getty Images

Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons' profanity-laced rant about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may have placed him in hot water with his company, but the public is showing overwhelming support on social media for his statements. The hashtag #FreeSimmons began trending Thursday in support of the suspended sports journalist. 

During The B.S. Report podcast (which is hosted on ESPN-owned site Grantland and linked on ESPN.com), Simmons repeatedly called Goodell a liar for saying Goodell didn't know about the video of former Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée. Despite adamant denials from the NFL, an Outside the Lines ESPN report stated that Ravens officials knew about the footage and were led to believe the NFL commissioner did as well. Simmons dared ESPN to punish him for making his statements—and the network promptly suspending him for three weeks and removed the podcast from its sites. (Other listeners have reloaded the clip on Soundcloud.)

The sports network told Adweek in a statement: "Every employee must be accountable to ESPN, and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN's journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks."

Simmons comments didn't come from left field. He's been outspoken about his disgust over the Goodell situation, including during a Sept. 11 post in which he called for the NFL commissioner to step down. He's also known for his bombastic opinions; one might expect that's what the network hired him for in the first place.  

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