[Ed. note - 1:57PM: It has been brought to my attention that some of the assumptions I made in this post were wrong and I've corrected them in this post. However, I stand by the title and general premise of the article.]
Yesterday during the Max Kellerman Show on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York, the Sports Fella popped on. They two are excellent foils to each other as both have unique perspectives and represent New York and Boston, respectively. They would make a fantastic radio combo, but ESPN would never put them together. Simmons anti-establishment position has been well-documented, and Kellerman has clashed with executives at ESPN, as well as FOX.
So, yesterday it took Simmons all of thirty seconds to start complaining about ESPN and their restrictive policies as to which radio shows he can or can not appear on.
[Ed. Note: I had to edit out some of Kellerman's excessive verbal tics, but other than that, the transcript is basically word for word]
[around the 0:40 mark (open that link in a new window)]The show that he'd "like to go on" is obviously the Max Kellerman Show, but he's obviously "allowed to go on", considering he was on it right then. The show airs from 10:00AM to 1:00PM on the New York affiliate. The show on opposite that on the national stream? The Herd with Colin Cowherd (who has never invited Simmons on). If you'll recall, there was a dust up between Simmons and Cowherd about a year and a half ago:
Max Kellerman: ...then I was mentioning, like, how you have a standing invite to come onto this show and you have invited me onto your podcast and everything, but is it kind of like... you have a friend that you are friendly with and everything, but you are like "Come over" or "Yeah, we'll see you" but you don't really mean it...? Is that what it's like with us?
Bill Simmons: No. No, what I said was... You know, we have the rule that ESPN talent can only go on ESPN shows, which is fine, but, you know, there are some shows that I'd like to go on, and I'm not allowed to go on, but then the show that's going against that show, has never invited me on.
Max Kellerman: I see...
Bill Simmons: So, basically I'm just banned from whatever that time slot is...
Max Kellerman: Oh I see, I see, I see what you are saying...
Bill Simmons: Yeah, without getting into details...
While we're here, my ESPN colleague Colin Cowherd mocked my seven trade scenarios for Kobe on the radio last week without reading the entire column or even attempting to understand its premise, namely, that the trade options for Kobe were limited because (A) he needed to go to a big market for a team that could contend right away, and (B) nobody pays 100 cents on the dollar for a team looking to unload an unhappy superstar.
And if that wasn't bad enough, Cowherd embarrassed himself by not understanding basic NBA trading principles like "it would be valuable for L.A. to swap Vlad Radmanovic's contract for Bobby Sura's expiring contract in a T-Mac/Kobe deal because Sura's contract expires in 2008, which would buy them some cap space down the road."
Look, I know the radio business lends itself to hosts lazily skimming other people's columns and blogs ... but seriously, Colin, in the words of Mark Jackson, you're better than that. Your show's on for three hours a day and you get four giant commercial breaks per hour. That leaves you plenty of time to research your segments so you don't come off as misinformed. No offense.
Those are all fair points, but dumping "No offense" after saying someone "embarrassed himself" and using the word "lazily" in reference to their professional work ethic is like taking a shit on their pillow and then putting a mint on top. Cowherd later retorted that his show was actually on for four hours a day (from 6-7 Pacific time is his "mysterious West Coast hour") and that Simmons was in fact the uninformed one.
It never went any further than that and both ESPNers have publicly laid the conflict to rest.
If ESPN didn't want Simmons to go on Kellerman's show, why would they give it such a prominent billing that same day? (It's still up as of 8:00AM on Tuesday). Is this just Simmons and his blogging alter ego, (still complete with a picture of Tim Robbins at his breaking point in Shawshank) whining about ESPN's policies, again?
Would ESPN put that up knowing that the podcast leads off with Simmons' trademark ESPN bashing? The segment was about 18 minutes long and Simmons congratulates Kellerman at the end for running long.
Simmons: You know what, I love the fact that you fought the man and stayed on past that 8/40, 20/20 break.
Kellerman: I'm not playing around, I'm not playing games. Let me tell you something, it was 35 break, not 40. How do you like that?
Is Simmons just being a baby or constructing this talent vs. executive conflict in his own mind? He was clearly allowed to appear on the show and it was given as high profile a link as a random radio spot ever gets. I like Simmons, but I think I have to side with ESPN on this one; he's being a drama queen.
The other outstanding issue: It would be very unESPNlike to feature something on their front page with this kind of outright anti-management rhetoric. I thought the whole segment was fantastic and perhaps the editors just thought it was good enough to feature anyway.