I'd be lying if said that, at least up until now, I wasn't a huge Bill Simmons fan. He was the first sportswriter that had more than basic literacy in pop culture and actively made me laugh when I read his stuff. Even if all he did was talk about some stupid fucking Boston team, he was so unique that I didn't even mind. He even occasionally dropped subtle complaints about ESPN, and that was fucking sneaky! In many ways, he was the original sports blogger, even if he would never deign to use that term.
Those days are over now. The rest of the Internet took Simmons' lead and ran with it. Even surpassed it. Now every blog compares some sports team to some other popular culture grouping (Lord knows we've probably done it). Plus, now we (thankfully) have entire sites set up to prove that Bill Maas is a complete retard. Simmons helped pioneer a lot of this, and that's pretty cool.
But even in years past, I had a sneaking feeling that, while Simmons was an entertaining writer, there was a great possibility that in real life he was a smug, arrogant douchebag. He bragged about playing sports instead of watching the Star Wars movies (even though he's seen The Karate Kid roughly 4 million times). He once taunted Colts fans by saying he was going to sleep with his Pats Super Bowl DVD under his pillow (or something to that effect. I don't have Insider.). And, of course, there was the endless name-dropping. Carolla. Kimmel. Uh... J-Bug. It all sent off the aura of someone far too pleased with himself.
But I still read him. Even if the shit wasn't as funny, and even if Deadspin had overtaken Simmons' page as the go to place for sports humor on the Web, without worrying about all the stupid Boston dogshit.
Well, that's over now. Today's chat with Simmons offered proof positive that the guy is a full-on fuckstick of the highest order. The evidence:
I'm happy to chat about that but we're not going to be posting any jokey/offensive questions about (TO), especially when we don't know all the facts yet.
Sounding a little like a tightass, but I'll let it slide.
Brent (South Dakota): As a media person, what are your feelings on Jason Whitlock's departure? Did he destroy himself, or should a media person be allowed to criticize his work associates without fear of retribution?
Bill Simmons: (12:41 PM ET ) I like Jason a lot, I've enjoyed exchanging emails with him and I liked having his column on Page 2, so I'm disappointed in what happened. But I don't see what he had to gain by venting to a blog. What's the benefit? So you win the respect of the 3,000 people who spend 8 hours a day posting on sports journalism message boards and blogs because you were "shooting from the hip"? Congratulations. What is this, wrestling? I just feel like there was a better way to handle it. I will really miss having him on the website, I always enjoyed his perspectives on things. And I still plan on reading him at AOL. But I'm disappointed with how everything went down.
Given that Simmons has made fun of Jim Caple (fair enough) and Dan Shanoff (upcoming) on his site, that's fairly hypocritical. But you know what's really fucking hypocritical? Trying to categorize people who read other sports blogs as losers. Oh, I already know I'm a loser. No arguments here. But what fucking right do you have, you stupid Masshole fuck, to rip on the same kind of people that support your goddamn site and your original site, which most people would characterize as a blog? Are you fucking kidding me?
Millions of people, maybe more, check out blogs like Deadspin, MJD, and the Big Lead every day. Are these people more loserish than your audience? Oh, you keep on believing that.
You've written all the time about how you wish you could rip on other ESPN personalities. Now Whitlock does it and he's a dipshit for it? Let me write you a prescription from TO's pharmacist, you fucking asshat. We move on:
Luke (Nashville): How many more years do you see yourself being the Sports Guy if you do leave the Disney family are you going to set up a blog similar to what Shanoff has done?
Bill Simmons: (2:39 PM ET ) Who's Shanoff?
Pretty fucking arrogant. But wait...
Shanoff (NY): That. Hurts.
Bill Simmons: (2:41 PM ET ) Just. Kidding. Although I wish you had worked as hard on the Quickie as you do on the blog.
Really? Because he wrote that shit every day and you write two fucking articles (one of which may or may not be a mail-in Tiger Woods piece) every week. Nice feedback, you fucking dick.
Matt (Getting Marriedville, PA): Planning a Bachelor Party in Vegas for Final Four weekend. Where should we stay? Which casino has the best sports book?
Bill Simmons: (3:14 PM ET ) You're crazy. Vegas is done. Go to New Orleans, go to Montreal, go to Toronto...
That's odd, because you've reveled in your trips to Vegas in print roughly 5,000 times over the years. Didn't know Vegas is "done", even if it's the same exact town as it was a couple years ago. Finally, someone has combined with assholishness of a Bostonian with the haughty douchebaggery of an Angeleno. I'm ecstatic.
But let's go back and find even more ridiculousness. How about a quote from Simmons' talk with Chris Ballard at SI?
I think back to 1998, when I had my own column, and it was dismissive, like, "Oh, he's on the Internet." It was an old guard/new guard thing.
Isn't that exactly what you're doing to the people who got the Whitlock interview? You complain about newspapers never letting you write or paying you anything. Now you get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and somehow those who would emulate you aren't worthy?
Shanoff can't say this, so allow me: FUCK. YOU.
I'm here to tell you your services are no longer required. I can find my sports-related humor without a reference to Larry Bird every five goddamn lines, and I can take comfort in the fact that it wasn't written by that one asshole in the pickup game who insists on being point guard and shouting out coaching instructions. YOU are the old guard now, my friend. You write for a Disney site that won't let you say anything. You can't even say fuck. I can. Fuck fuck fuckkity fuck. It's fun. Try it. Oh wait, sorry. Your editor says you can't do that. Too bad.
But I hope that 5,000 word essay you wrote on Dennis Johnson turns out really nicely. Fucktard.
PS - Your book sucked, douche.
NOTE: This rant generated some pretty interesting comments down below, including thoughtful defenses of Simmons from commenters Mike Futia, Friz and gladwell (clearly slumming).
Here's my take: We rip on our favorite athletes all the time. I don't understand why ripping on broadcasters and sportswriters is any different. Does that cross some sort of line? What's the difference between me making fun of Bill Simmons and Simmons calling for Doc Rivers' head? Do the vast majority of sports fans give a shit either way about any of this? Probably not. But some of us like arguing and making juvenile dick jokes about it. I'm not fighting any greater war. It's like a sports bar argument. The argument is the sport.
Frankly, I think this whole "bloggers think everything sucks" viewpoint is dumb. I take the rest of my life seriously enough. The blog exists so I can make all the tasteless TO suicide jokes I please. I'm not some fucking nihilist. This is a satire site. That means everyone gets made fun of. Including, and especially me. There's no grand master scheme to get Deadspin links and then take over the sports blogging gay mafia. It's for fun. 8-year-old fun, but fun nonetheless. Hey, that dog has a puffy tail!