Drew Magary has long had disdain for Bill Simmons and this week he took a chance to rip The Ringer's founder in an online column for the San Francisco Chronicle. The airing of grievances was brutal and followed Simmons' controversial comments to the New York Times earlier this week.
Magary and his cohorts at Deadspin (before it died and had its corpse reanimated) spent years taking shots at Simmons for his obvious blind spots. Whether the criticism was always reasoned and fair is up for debate, but they definitely held Simmons' feet to the fire both at ESPN and after he started The Ringer.
This new column is something different, though. Magary basically posits that Simmons is even more out of touch than he's ever been because he's now fabulously wealthy, thereby validating the decisions he's always made. In the Times piece, Simmons defended himself for not giving minority voices more opportunities because, "It's a business. This isn't an Open Mic Night." Magary threw that right back in his face:
People far and wide are gonna hang that quote around Simmons' neck. As others have already pointed out, Simmons gave his daughter a podcast, hired his nephew (who subsequently recorded a diss track complaining about The Ringer's employees daring to unionize), and has generally followed the Kimmel/Sandler model of hiring staff like he's inviting friends and relatives over for a cookout. He also reportedly has a tight inner circle at his own company, and you can probably guess the number of Black people in it. A meritocracy this is not. So, in just eight simple words emailed to a reporter, he laid bare his open disdain for anyone who dares question how he goes about his business. In his own words, and in the paper of record, Simmons bitchily told the world that he's just another rich 50-year-old asshole now. Most concise bit of writing he's ever done.
He followed that up with this:
This has been a long time coming. Simmons began his career as ESPN's resident voice of the fan and, over the span of two decades, built an empire out of being a Cocky Dickbag Who Thinks He Should Run Every NBA Team And Movie Studio. One editor who used to work with Simmons at ESPN said they once sent him notes on an article and his only reply was, "stet all changes." He never found any criticism of him constructive.
That's a brutal takedown.