ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons From Twitter After Criticizing Network

Chris McPherson

One of the sports network's biggest personalities called a segment that aired on "First Take" on Monday "awful and embarrassing," allegedly drawing his employer's ire.

ESPN has suspended star commentator, writer and editor Bill Simmons from posting on Twitter, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The network was angered by tweets Simmons sent out criticizing an interview featured on its talk show First Take, which saw commentator Skip Bayless engage in a heated argument with star Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The interview drew buzz online, largely for Sherman's repeated attacks on the outspoken Bayless, and Simmons leveled his criticism at the network for airing the interview at all. Deadspin initially reported the suspension.

"I am not defending this segment," he wrote, adding a link to the video. "I thought it was awful and embarrassing to everyone involved. Seriously."

Simmons then added: "But what bothers me about the reaction to that segment is people saying Richard Sherman 'won.' Nobody won. Everyone lost. Including ESPN."

ESPN's social media guidelines forbid its employees from criticizing the network online.

The most pertinent guideline reads: "Keep internal deliberations confidential. Do not discuss how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced; stories or features in progress; interviews conducted; or any future coverage plans."

The suspension, which was limited to Twitter, began Tuesday and will end Friday. Simmons runs Grantland, the network's pop culture website, and has continued to write on his Facebook page during the past few days.

Simmons' reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.