Bill Simmons: Valuing Trades More Than Friendships

May 14, 2015
134
Why is "more" not a measurable or helpful goal? The goal is more. Don’t worry, we are not in danger in pretty much any professional setting anywhere of having white guys being underrepresented so the goal for now (and the foreseeable future) is more. What more means will vary greatly from company to company and industry to industry, so throwing out a random target and then declaring victory when you hit it isn’t particularly helpful or meaningful.
More is by definition not measurable. And it's not helpful because we can't, as a society or as companies or any group of people, figure out if we've made progress if we only start out with the goal of "more". And right now we're in a situation where simply pointing out well researched data that doesn't go along with popular thought can get you fired or accosted online. How are we ever supposed to benchmark ourselves and productively reform industries without goals? If not, we'll just end up with performative liberalism where companies like Amazon will appeal to the crowd with good PR and never get penalized for being a huge part of the problem by not paying their logistics employees livable wages.

Instead of simply stating that there are more fanatical sports fans who are men than who are women, how about starting with why that might be, and what kind of gender bias might create that situation?

As to the rest of your point, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you do seem to be suggesting that white men are the only people capable of being in super competitive, less reliable, and poorly paid jobs. Are non-white men just not competitive enough? Or do they on average have greater connections and family wealth (coughsimmonscough) that allow them to do things like blog professionally?

Or is that the entire reason why people are frustrated??
That's not what I'm suggesting at all. Obviously, people of all genders, races, ethnicities are super competitive and able to achieve whatever the hell they want to. That's why we have very rich, very powerful PoC movie directors and why Satya Nardella is the CEO of Microsoft and so on. My point is that we can't look at the demographics of the US and then point to certain industries and expect it to align perfectly. It doesn't work in the opposite way. We don't see that a large majority of women are therapists and demand more male representation.

I get that's why people are frustrated. I am, too. I just don't believe it's effective to call people stupid, racist, bigoted, and basically assume the most ungenerous things about them and their motivations. Attacking the top of the funnel like this is like putting the body of a Ferrari on a Ford Escort and wondering why it doesn't go faster. There are major, structural issues with America right now that are being totally ignored so that we can bitch about famous people saying dumb things. So are high-earning people who move into cities, many who are liberal, going to start sending their kids to public schools in New York, LA, Chicago, etc.? Probably not, and this huge problem of public schooling for children who need it most is going to continue to fester. Are those same people going to allow affordable housing into their neighborhoods? Probably not, because it will depreciate their condo - "that housing project can go in that other neighborhood, just not mine."

But cool, we got to dunk on Bill Simmons for a week, and then we'll get to dunk on someone else next week. Meanwhile, all the crap that's leading us into massive income inequality is just going to continue.
 

MDJ

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More is by definition not measurable. And it's not helpful because we can't, as a society or as companies or any group of people, figure out if we've made progress if we only start out with the goal of "more". And right now we're in a situation where simply pointing out well researched data that doesn't go along with popular thought can get you fired or accosted online. How are we ever supposed to benchmark ourselves and productively reform industries without goals? If not, we'll just end up with performative liberalism where companies like Amazon will appeal to the crowd with good PR and never get penalized for being a huge part of the problem by not paying their logistics employees livable wages.



That's not what I'm suggesting at all. Obviously, people of all genders, races, ethnicities are super competitive and able to achieve whatever the hell they want to. That's why we have very rich, very powerful PoC movie directors and why Satya Nardella is the CEO of Microsoft and so on. My point is that we can't look at the demographics of the US and then point to certain industries and expect it to align perfectly. It doesn't work in the opposite way. We don't see that a large majority of women are therapists and demand more male representation.

I get that's why people are frustrated. I am, too. I just don't believe it's effective to call people stupid, racist, bigoted, and basically assume the most ungenerous things about them and their motivations. Attacking the top of the funnel like this is like putting the body of a Ferrari on a Ford Escort and wondering why it doesn't go faster. There are major, structural issues with America right now that are being totally ignored so that we can bitch about famous people saying dumb things. So are high-earning people who move into cities, many who are liberal, going to start sending their kids to public schools in New York, LA, Chicago, etc.? Probably not, and this huge problem of public schooling for children who need it most is going to continue to fester. Are those same people going to allow affordable housing into their neighborhoods? Probably not, because it will depreciate their condo - "that housing project can go in that other neighborhood, just not mine."

But cool, we got to dunk on Bill Simmons for a week, and then we'll get to dunk on someone else next week. Meanwhile, all the crap that's leading us into massive income inequality is just going to continue.
I don't even know where to start, but at the very least; I'm capable of being engaged in dismantling our country's oppression of people of color AND being annoyed at Bill Simmons. It's not an either-or proposition for me. In fact, I think that these issues are basically the same- and what you call "dunking on" I call making someone accountable for profiting off a system of inequality.

But I get that for most people in this forum, it's a lot easier to relate and feel really bad for someone like Simmons than someone like Dave Schilling.
 

thebtskink

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Jul 15, 2005
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Dekographics aside, I think the Union's statements get to where he should start.

There should be at least one black writer/podcaster for both the NBA and NFL, and there should be a black editor. Start from there, change hiring practices, and give more podcast reps to staffers shut out from them.

Yes the people moving to cancel him are going too far, but it's not like pushing for change is a bad thing.
 
May 14, 2015
134
I don't even know where to start, but at the very least; I'm capable of being engaged in dismantling our country's oppression of people of color AND being annoyed at Bill Simmons. It's not an either-or proposition for me. In fact, I think that these issues are basically the same- and what you call "dunking on" I call making someone accountable for profiting off a system of inequality.

But I get that for most people in this forum, it's a lot easier to relate and feel really bad for someone like Simmons than someone like Dave Schilling.
It seems like an either or proposition according to Twitter and the amount of news coverage this shit gets. I'm glad that you are putting in the work and actually matching actions up with your words, but the rest of America is not following suit. Random "Karens" get more news coverage and viral interest than affordable housing propositions.

Not sure why you need to assume I feel more bad for Simmons than DS. I'm from a working class family, my parents died without leaving me shit, and I'm still paying off student loans from college. I feel for anyone who's struggling and I don't have a ton of sympathy for people like Simmons. My issue is with the current state of rhetoric and how we converse as a culture because it's leading us to run in place rather than actually move forward.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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If you don't have a ton of sympathy for people like Simmons, you have an odd way of showing that.

IMO the problem isn't the way we converse. The problem is the way we have been conversing in the past. If someone has been racist or misogynistic, in the past we were far too slow to point it out or act upon that information. Twitter is a mess, but one thing about it that I've found useful is being an aggregation of things people are upset about. Getting all of Simmons' supremely misogynistic quotes in one place paints quite a picture of his approach to his work.
 

ifmanis5

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It's not cancelling, it's repercussions.
He was given a blank slate and a lot of cash as a start up. It's one of the few big money making digital platforms in the world so he can do what he wants. What he is getting now is a result of the choices he has made and the voices he has decided to showcase. He can look in the mirror if he's unhappy with the current backlash and the "open mic" comment.
He also has a big opportunity to make a lot of changes. He should for once in his life not be a thin-skinned jerk about criticism and make positive improvements. Can he? And will it be enough? His radio silence seems to indicate that he at least understands the severity of this moment.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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It's not cancelling, it's repercussions.
He was given a blank slate and a lot of cash as a start up. It's one of the few big money making digital platforms in the world so he can do what he wants. What he is getting now is a result of the choices he has made and the voices he has decided to showcase. He can look in the mirror if he's unhappy with the current backlash and the "open mic" comment.
He also has a big opportunity to make a lot of changes. He should for once in his life not be a thin-skinned jerk about criticism and make positive improvements. Can he? And will it be enough? His radio silence seems to indicate that he at least understands the severity of this moment.
This is very well put. Simmons isn't the first or only person to be the target of backlash; noted games writer Chris Avellone just got outed as a serial sexual harasser and creep and may never work again. In comparison Simmons is getting light heat.

I am just not sure if he can or will change. I know the Magary article on him was deliberately inflammatory, but I can't help thinking about his (Simmons') reaction to editing: "Stet (ignore) all changes." The guy is massively successful; I can't see him changing much unless he's really changed his own outlook. And now he has Fuck You money, so I'm not sure he will make adaptations.
 

Kliq

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Bill isn't perfect, still makes plenty of mistakes and the pod from a month ago with him and Russillo was a good example of that.

But if you don't think he has changed since a lot of the old, misogynistic things he wrote were dug up, IDK what to tell you.
 
May 14, 2015
134
This is very well put. Simmons isn't the first or only person to be the target of backlash; noted games writer Chris Avellone just got outed as a serial sexual harasser and creep and may never work again. In comparison Simmons is getting light heat.

I am just not sure if he can or will change. I know the Magary article on him was deliberately inflammatory, but I can't help thinking about his (Simmons') reaction to editing: "Stet (ignore) all changes." The guy is massively successful; I can't see him changing much unless he's really changed his own outlook. And now he has Fuck You money, so I'm not sure he will make adaptations.
Why would Simmons get as much heat as a serial sexual harasser? Would that make sense in any way?
 

Ralphwiggum

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More is by definition not measurable. And it's not helpful because we can't, as a society or as companies or any group of people, figure out if we've made progress if we only start out with the goal of "more". And right now we're in a situation where simply pointing out well researched data that doesn't go along with popular thought can get you fired or accosted online. How are we ever supposed to benchmark ourselves and productively reform industries without goals? If not, we'll just end up with performative liberalism where companies like Amazon will appeal to the crowd with good PR and never get penalized for being a huge part of the problem by not paying their logistics employees livable wages.
More is absolutely measurable and a perfectly fine goal when your starting point is where it is for much of corporate America. Individual organizations should certainly have more concrete goals, but your original posts reads like “when will enough be enough“ and the answer to that question is “we are not close to that yet so who cares?”

We can and should care about the housing crisis and the state of public education in many inner cities and also unconscious (and conscious) bias in hiring decisions that leads to the massive dearth of diversity amongst leadership in organizations everywhere. It isn’t either/or. In your effort to work in every talking point for everyone who has ever opposed diversity programs since their inception, you continue to massively miss the point as to why Simmons’ “open mic” comment was spectacularly tone deaf and worthy of the criticism it is getting.
 

shaggydog2000

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Some potentially relevant numbers:

12-14% of the US populations is Black, but 74+% of the NBA is Black (the sport Simmons and The Ringer cover the most?). 86% of Ringer podcast guests last year were white.
So should a writing/podcasting staff look like the general population, look like the consumers of the content they have, look like the consumers of the content they wish existed, or look like the topic they are covering?
 
May 14, 2015
134
More is absolutely measurable and a perfectly fine goal when your starting point is where it is for much of corporate America. Individual organizations should certainly have more concrete goals, but your original posts reads like “when will enough be enough“ and the answer to that question is “we are not close to that yet so who cares?”

We can and should care about the housing crisis and the state of public education in many inner cities and also unconscious (and conscious) bias in hiring decisions that leads to the massive dearth of diversity amongst leadership in organizations everywhere. It isn’t either/or. In your effort to work in every talking point for everyone who has ever opposed diversity programs since their inception, you continue to massively miss the point as to why Simmons’ “open mic” comment was spectacularly tone deaf and worthy of the criticism it is getting.
I apologize if my posts read like that ("when is enough enough") because that is not my intent. I want diversity and I want to live in a world where happiness and wealth and safety is more evenly distributed. I may disagree with you on how we get there, but that's the ideal end goal.

You can make fun of me for "working in talking points" but that doesn't make any of the points I made less valid. I asked earlier in this thread for anyone to suggest a diverse writer who could use the amplification and not one person had a suggestion. I'm sure most people have me on mute or something, but if the biggest sports fans I know can't name up and coming diverse writers, how would they have enough of a platform to get hired by the Ringer?

The way we talk about this stuff matters. The way we talk about large groups of people really matters because we're trying to get a plurality of voters to agree what progress looks like. I personally think that alienating people by assuming they're all repeating mantras or they're hidden bigots or secret sexists when they're really just skeptics does more harm than good, but maybe I'm just scarred from 2016.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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So should a writing/podcasting staff look like the general population, look like the consumers of the content they have, look like the consumers of the content they wish existed, or look like the topic they are covering?
Moreover - while not completely apple's to apple's - this Guardian article declares that 79% of the media and publishing industry is white.

Being a large majority of Ringer guests are fellow columnists, journalists, podcasters, etc, the 84% number doesn't seem all that out of whack. Another 1 or 2 guests of color last year probably puts him in line with industry standards.
 

shaggydog2000

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Moreover - while not completely apple's to apple's - this Guardian article declares that 79% of the media and publishing industry is white.

Being a large majority of Ringer guests are fellow columnists, journalists, podcasters, etc, the 84% number doesn't seem all that out of whack. Another 1 or 2 guests of color last year probably puts him in line with industry standards.
I think with the pull he has, he could aim for better than below average. I get that argument. But saying a sport has a large number of black players, so it should be covered heavily by black people just doesn't hold water to me. I can understand the argument that the audience for it has a large percentage of black people so we should hire more black people to cover it. That makes perfect sense. And when there are issues of race to talk about in the NBA, having someone of that race cover it makes sense. But playoff predictions, who the best point guard of the 90's was, and the mount rushmore of overweight players are not inherently race based conversations.
 

shlincoln

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dirtynine

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Until recently it was deemed acceptable to find underrepresented voices who had a knack for entertaining people like Simmons, and by extension audiences that already think and look like Simmons. No matter how underrepresented, those voices have needed to fit Simmons’ frame of what “entertaining” is. This is also how I thought for my whole life, until not that long ago. Once you flip the switch and realize who is creating the frame, you get it. Black or female voices are their own thing. White dudes like me need to work to appreciate them, not the other way around. And where the platforms are scant, they need seats at the table that aren’t allocated by white dudes and judged by white dude audiences.

Simmons isn’t any different than ever. He’s simply getting this feedback from an increasing number of people (including white dudes).
 

ElUno20

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I think with the pull he has, he could aim for better than below average. I get that argument. But saying a sport has a large number of black players, so it should be covered heavily by black people just doesn't hold water to me. I can understand the argument that the audience for it has a large percentage of black people so we should hire more black people to cover it. That makes perfect sense. And when there are issues of race to talk about in the NBA, having someone of that race cover it makes sense. But playoff predictions, who the best point guard of the 90's was, and the mount rushmore of overweight players are not inherently race based conversations.
The dumbass topics he covers and creates about the nba are irrelevant. The NBA is literally the main sport his empire is built on.
 

The Social Chair

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Abbot lost me when refuses to give Simmons even a little credit. He makes it seem like Simmons only achieved his success because Simmons had leverage over his bosses. In reality, Simmons had leverage at ESPN because he was an insanely popular columnist.

The gum anecdote and comments on his wife came off gross and petty to me.

"But Simmons’ operations have not been hotbeds of innovation. "

Pretty sure creating a $250M sports podcast company in 4 years is innovative.

"He somehow convinced the world that he invented the sports documentary and got himself a credit on every 30 for 30. "

Sure buddy.

Simmons getting Abbot's live draft blog canceled is not exactly Woj getting Marc Stein fired.
 

SydneySox

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There is no point talking to a poster who is not engaging in conversation. ManicCompression is a troll and he is making this thread worse.

More is by definition not measurable. And it's not helpful because we can't, as a society or as companies or any group of people, figure out if we've made progress if we only start out with the goal of "more".
(Burden of Proof, Strawman, AND Moving the Goalposts)

And right now we're in a situation where simply pointing out well researched data that doesn't go along with popular thought can get you fired or accosted online.
False dilemma.

How are we ever supposed to benchmark ourselves and productively reform industries without goals? If not, we'll just end up with performative liberalism where companies like Amazon will appeal to the crowd with good PR and never get penalized for being a huge part of the problem by not paying their logistics employees livable wages.
Appeal to Emotion morphing into Slippery Slope)

That's not what I'm suggesting at all. Obviously, people of all genders, races, ethnicities are super competitive and able to achieve whatever the hell they want to. That's why we have very rich, very powerful PoC movie directors and why Satya Nardella is the CEO of Microsoft and so on. My point is that we can't look at the demographics of the US and then point to certain industries and expect it to align perfectly. It doesn't work in the opposite way. We don't see that a large majority of women are therapists and demand more male representation.
False equivalence.

I get that's why people are frustrated. I am, too. I just don't believe it's effective to call people stupid, racist, bigoted, and basically assume the most ungenerous things about them and their motivations. Attacking the top of the funnel like this is like putting the body of a Ferrari on a Ford Escort and wondering why it doesn't go faster. There are major, structural issues with America right now that are being totally ignored so that we can bitch about famous people saying dumb things. So are high-earning people who move into cities, many who are liberal, going to start sending their kids to public schools in New York, LA, Chicago, etc.? Probably not, and this huge problem of public schooling for children who need it most is going to continue to fester. Are those same people going to allow affordable housing into their neighborhoods? Probably not, because it will depreciate their condo - "that housing project can go in that other neighborhood, just not mine."
All of them? It is a long Slippery Slope that includes Appeal to Emotion, False Cause, etc.

But cool, we got to dunk on Bill Simmons for a week, and then we'll get to dunk on someone else next week. Meanwhile, all the crap that's leading us into massive income inequality is just going to continue.
False Cause of course, but a range of other issues.
 
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SydneySox

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Bill isn't perfect, still makes plenty of mistakes and the pod from a month ago with him and Russillo was a good example of that.
You should have stopped here.

But if you don't think he has changed since a lot of the old, misogynistic things he wrote were dug up, IDK what to tell you.
Most people have posted a range of reasons why he hasn't changed, so it seems the burden of knowing what to tell them - and me - is on you, not the other way around. This is known as burden of proof fallacy.

However - one aspect that is relevant is the last time I read or consumed anything that helps Bill Simmons, and it was the transphobic issue from 2014 where he and his staff outed a woman who committed suicide. Bill followed exactly the same path as here, in this case transphobia as opposed to racism, followed by defence, followed by a statement heavily advised by crisis communications staff that said all the right things about being sorry, learning to grow, being wrong, alluding to all the good stuff he had actually done like it matter, then saying it didn't matter, than saying he'd never do it again, then not talking about it again.

Bill hasn't changed but he's grown far more professional as his reach has expanded. That he sometimes slips up, like here, on the tightrope he walks as a bro-whisperer, is almost inevitable. But you should never take his lack of mistakes as change; we are consistently reminded that Bill Simmons has not changed, he's just been forced to not use the same levels of humour he made his money on. We know he hasn't changed socially because he makes the same jokes, literally watches the same movies and talks to the same people. And we know he also employs people - like, say, me - who advise him on comms. He's also very obviously smart.

But he has shown us his colours more than once. I don't denounce you, or some of the other people for wanting to like his works even as I had to stop 6 years ago, but I do wonder what the issue he's going to reveal his repugnant personal views on next will be the one that makes people re-consider their support of him.
 
Whether or not you like Bill Simmons, and whether or not you buy all of the explicit and implicit charges in the Abbott piece (which did make for a cracking read either way), his only-child-ism has been on display for decades. I'm barely exaggerating to say that Simmons was a prime example in my mind for most of this century of why I never would have wanted to stop at having only one child - and an only child of divorced parents at that, parents who probably competed for his affection. And I say this as a fan.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Abbott clearly has bitterness going on, even discounting it some for his angle it’s still a pretty powerful piece
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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FWIW, Simmons took a few minutes off the top before his interviews on today's pod to address the NY Times article (didn't address any of the other pieces or twitter stuff run on him since). Basically says "We know we didn't do well enough" in terms of diversity, and this was a key part of the Spotify sale was to open things up with their team to get better in this regard.

In response to the "open mic night" comment he read off the entire email question and response since it was an email interview. Basically his point was it was a question on the Rewatchables podcast and they started with some motley crews but with it now being one of the Ringer's largest revenue producers a majority of those podcasts have and will be driven by himself and/or Chris Ryan (two of the most popular podcasters on the network). The "open mic night" comment was limited to this situation and has nothing to do with diversity and introducing new voices throughout the podcast offerings.

Take him at his word or not as you wish. I'm glad he just addressed the open mic night and it didn't become a big "woe is me" over the top defensive response. The best thing is not to let his thin skin/"only child"-ishness show in this moment.
 

jose melendez

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I've been thinking about this, and I've concluded that the big issue isn't that bill is a racist or a a mysogynist, or even that he has racial or gender biases on which he fails to reflect--I actually think he's done a fair amount of reflection on those biases over the years, and while he still comes up short, he's made progress.

What I think he fails to recognize is that he has a massive Bill Simmons bias. If you listen to him interview on virtually any subject, he tries, over tortuously, to jam it into the framework of his existing perspectives and experiences. This was often entertaining when he was an every man frat boy, but as he's become not only a middle-aged man, but an extremely rich middle-aged man, it's gotten less and less funny and less and less relevant. Remarkably, he seems incapable of seeing that he has a healthy portion of the problem he often attributes, correctly, to Eddie Murphy. Bill's not out with regular folks anymore, and he doesn't seem to realize that.

The other reflection on this is that Bill is the product at the Ringer, Grantland or wherever--it's not whoever he identifies and adds to the network--if they have someplace better to go, they move along (Rembert Browne). That's normal and natural, but, given Bill's appearances on almost everything and every podcast on the Ringer, he is the brand. It's not clear to me that if he left, the Ringer would exist in a year. Bill's problem in diversifying is that most Ringer consumers are there for Bill Simmons, and Bill Simmons type takes. Yeah, individual podcasts can have a following outside of him, but he is the product--and he's a very white, middle-aged, rich product.

Edit: And I say this as someone who enjoys his podcasts and used to enjoy his writing. But I'm a white, middle-aged, lamentably not rich, man, so of course I do.
 
May 14, 2015
134
There is no point talking to a poster who is not engaging in conversation. ManicCompression is a troll and he is making this thread worse.
Excuse me - how am I a troll? How am I not engaging in conversation? My posts have been level-headed (or at least I thought). I haven't made any personal attacks. My opinion is just simply different. And frankly, I'm still forming my opinion, but that requires thinking critically about these topics and listening to what people who share your belief are saying in addition to wondering about other aspects of this larger conversation.

What if you're of the opinion that African Americans, a group comprised of 40 million people, don't share one monolithic point of view? What if you think that women, a group that is 50% of the population, don't have a singular belief system? What if you think that it's kind of offensive to think that Asians, a group that comes from dozens of countries with hundreds of different cultures, should be lumped together together so haphazardly? What if you actually treated and talked about individual people like they were individual people?

Because that's really what's going on here. The people calling out Bill Simmons and many other of these entertainment/news orgs don't want diversity of opinion. If he were to hire an African American sportswriter that shared the views of Jason Whitlock, that wouldn't be acceptable. If he hired an African American culture writer whose opinions on race were more in line with someone like John McWhorter, that would cause an uproar.

So you can think whatever you want about me, I'm not going to change your mind (though maybe I can ignore your insults and you can change mine). I'll just say that the movie Parasite, along with a conversation with a friend who grew up in Korea, really help put some things into focus for me. That country is among the most homogenous societies on earth, yet there is tremendous wealth inequality and those at the bottom live extremely difficult lives. They don't have the variable of race, and yet they face the same challenges as the US.

Rest assured, while us plebes bicker about race and lob insults at each other and divide ourselves into smaller groups that can't agree on anything, the most powerful people in the country are sitting there laughing at us and counting their money. Read any interview with Steve Bannon about electoral politics - this infighting is exactly what the politicians you so despise want you to do. What's that Napoleon quote about doing your enemy's job for them? Keep at it.

Apologies for boring everyone, but had to share the last of my $.02. I'll stop "trolling" here.
 

Mooch

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Whether or not you like Bill Simmons, and whether or not you buy all of the explicit and implicit charges in the Abbott piece (which did make for a cracking read either way), his only-child-ism has been on display for decades. I'm barely exaggerating to say that Simmons was a prime example in my mind for most of this century of why I never would have wanted to stop at having only one child - and an only child of divorced parents at that, parents who probably competed for his affection. And I say this as a fan.
I'll make no excuses for Simmons as a gigantic egomaniac and spoiled brat but can we call out the garbage faux-psychology that attributes his obvious faults to being an only child? Study after study has debunked this commonly held myth that only children are more selfish, lacking in social skills, etc... That kind of lazy thinking doesn't stand up to academic scrutiny anymore.

Here's a good recent summary from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-only-child-syndrome-real/
 

coremiller

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I think attributing Bill Simmons' issue to being an only child is a cute angle for an article but is overly reductive and to a large extend lets him off the hook. I know plenty of people who are an only child but have a less blinkered sense of their own importance and centrality.

Simmons' problem is that his egocentric tendencies (perhaps due to being an only child) have been reinforced by his success. Many people learn the hard way that the world does not revolve around them and gradually acquire additional wisdom and maturity. Simmons' career arc has been the opposite of that.

EDIT: Yeah, what Mooch said.
 

tbb345

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I've been thinking about this, and I've concluded that the big issue isn't that bill is a racist or a a mysogynist, or even that he has racial or gender biases on which he fails to reflect--I actually think he's done a fair amount of reflection on those biases over the years, and while he still comes up short, he's made progress.

What I think he fails to recognize is that he has a massive Bill Simmons bias. If you listen to him interview on virtually any subject, he tries, over tortuously, to jam it into the framework of his existing perspectives and experiences. This was often entertaining when he was an every man frat boy, but as he's become not only a middle-aged man, but an extremely rich middle-aged man, it's gotten less and less funny and less and less relevant. Remarkably, he seems incapable of seeing that he has a healthy portion of the problem he often attributes, correctly, to Eddie Murphy. Bill's not out with regular folks anymore, and he doesn't seem to realize that.

The other reflection on this is that Bill is the product at the Ringer, Grantland or wherever--it's not whoever he identifies and adds to the network--if they have someplace better to go, they move along (Rembert Browne). That's normal and natural, but, given Bill's appearances on almost everything and every podcast on the Ringer, he is the brand. It's not clear to me that if he left, the Ringer would exist in a year. Bill's problem in diversifying is that most Ringer consumers are there for Bill Simmons, and Bill Simmons type takes. Yeah, individual podcasts can have a following outside of him, but he is the product--and he's a very white, middle-aged, rich product.

Edit: And I say this as someone who enjoys his podcasts and used to enjoy his writing. But I'm a white, middle-aged, lamentably not rich, man, so of course I do.
This is a great post and I think sums up most of the problems. Although he does have some tendencies for both, I don’t think Bill is racist or sexist.
There are a few core issues here but I think that he always thinks he’s right and, as Abbott alluded to in his pieces these opinions that he holds onto for dear life are not really that well thought out.

He’s also incredibly thin skinned and seems to make a good deal of unforced errors. I mean, there’s just no universe where him and Russillo casually discussing the George Floyd murder is a remotely good idea. You could tell from a mile away it was going to blow up in their faces. Same with the “open mic” e-mail. That’s so tone deaf and devoid of any self-awareness it’s shocking.
 
I'll make no excuses for Simmons as a gigantic egomaniac and spoiled brat but can we call out the garbage faux-psychology that attributes his obvious faults to being an only child? Study after study has debunked this commonly held myth that only children are more selfish, lacking in social skills, etc... That kind of lazy thinking doesn't stand up to academic scrutiny anymore.

Here's a good recent summary from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-only-child-syndrome-real/
Thanks - I will concede ignorance on the science here, although I'm curious as to whether only child syndrome is more real in divorced families. (And even that article you cited says "there are indications only children are less willing to come to terms with others.") Regardless, can we agree that Simmons pretty closely fits the stereotype of an only child, whether or not that stereotype is correct? I think this ties in with Jose's hypothesis as well - if his frame of reference often goes no further than himself, perhaps that's down his childhood to a greater or lesser extent? You might remember Simmons talk about the black alter ego he had as a child, which is particular curious in light of recent events.
 

Mooch

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Thanks - I will concede ignorance on the science here, although I'm curious as to whether only child syndrome is more real in divorced families. (And even that article you cited says "there are indications only children are less willing to come to terms with others.") Regardless, can we agree that Simmons pretty closely fits the stereotype of an only child, whether or not that stereotype is correct? I think this ties in with Jose's hypothesis as well - if his frame of reference often goes no further than himself, perhaps that's down his childhood to a greater or lesser extent? You might remember Simmons talk about the black alter ego he had as a child, which is particular curious in light of recent events.
I think his issues stem more from an upbringing of extreme privilege and being surrounded by people just like him (Greenwich CT prep schools, postgrad at Choate, Holy Cross undergrad, BU grad school, etc...) than being an only child.
 

tbb345

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I think his issues stem more from an upbringing of extreme privilege and being surrounded by people just like him (Greenwich CT prep schools, postgrad at Choate, Holy Cross undergrad, BU grad school, etc...) than being an only child.
Agreed but I think his particular circumstances, an only child of divorce where seemingly both families just doted on him, has to play a big part here
 

MDJ

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Feb 9, 2009
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I've been thinking about this, and I've concluded that the big issue isn't that bill is a racist or a a mysogynist, or even that he has racial or gender biases on which he fails to reflect--I actually think he's done a fair amount of reflection on those biases over the years, and while he still comes up short, he's made progress.

What I think he fails to recognize is that he has a massive Bill Simmons bias. If you listen to him interview on virtually any subject, he tries, over tortuously, to jam it into the framework of his existing perspectives and experiences. This was often entertaining when he was an every man frat boy, but as he's become not only a middle-aged man, but an extremely rich middle-aged man, it's gotten less and less funny and less and less relevant. Remarkably, he seems incapable of seeing that he has a healthy portion of the problem he often attributes, correctly, to Eddie Murphy. Bill's not out with regular folks anymore, and he doesn't seem to realize that.

The other reflection on this is that Bill is the product at the Ringer, Grantland or wherever--it's not whoever he identifies and adds to the network--if they have someplace better to go, they move along (Rembert Browne). That's normal and natural, but, given Bill's appearances on almost everything and every podcast on the Ringer, he is the brand. It's not clear to me that if he left, the Ringer would exist in a year. Bill's problem in diversifying is that most Ringer consumers are there for Bill Simmons, and Bill Simmons type takes. Yeah, individual podcasts can have a following outside of him, but he is the product--and he's a very white, middle-aged, rich product.

Edit: And I say this as someone who enjoys his podcasts and used to enjoy his writing. But I'm a white, middle-aged, lamentably not rich, man, so of course I do.
I had a very strong knee jerk reaction to your post but I read it a few more times and I think I KIND OF get what you're saying and I don't disagree as strongly as I first did. However, I would say as a counterargument that his Bill Simmons bias leads to his racial and gender biases.
 

curly2

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The "only child" thing is a bad way to frame an otherwise good article. I'm one of five, but I've known only children who were totally self-centered, and ones who would give you the shirt off your back.

I think Magary summed up Simmons better with this line: "He has the intellectual curiosity of a Trump child."
 

jose melendez

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I had a very strong knee jerk reaction to your post but I read it a few more times and I think I KIND OF get what you're saying and I don't disagree as strongly as I first did. However, I would say as a counterargument that his Bill Simmons bias leads to his racial and gender biases.
He absolutely has racial and gender biases--most people do. But I think he's acutally aware of those. I don't, however, think he is aware of his Bill Simmons bias.

The great irony here is that I have a strong Jose Melendez bias, and am trying to fit Bill Simmons into the framework of me... The difference, I think, is that I am incredibly aware of my tendency to make everything about me and to try to squeeze everything into the framework of my experience and I have worked really, really hard to combat it. I don't think Bill even knows.
 

jose melendez

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The "only child" thing is a bad way to frame an otherwise good article. I'm one of five, but I've known only children who were totally self-centered, and ones who would give you the shirt off your back.

I think Magary summed up Simmons better with this line: "He has the intellectual curiosity of a Trump child."
I think that Trump child line is nonsense. Bill talks to people with differing opinions all the time, and appears genuinely interested in learning, and occasionally capable of changing his opinion in response to new information. Both of these are completely un-Trumpian.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I think that Trump child line is nonsense. Bill talks to people with differing opinions all the time, and appears genuinely interested in learning, and occasionally capable of changing his opinion in response to new information. Both of these are completely un-Trumpian.
Agreed: I don't think he'd be friends with Daryl Morey or get involved with Sloan if he had no intellectual curiosity. There is no mistaking that on the other hand he gets lazy and it is a product of his high opinion of himself, i.e. "wow that Ewing Theory I popularized years ago was so awesome, let's work it into this 2020 example of ...."
 

ifmanis5

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Agreed: I don't think he'd be friends with Daryl Morey or get involved with Sloan if he had no intellectual curiosity. There is no mistaking that on the other hand he gets lazy and it is a product of his high opinion of himself, i.e. "wow that Ewing Theory I popularized years ago was so awesome, let's work it into this 2020 example of ...."
This comment gets the Joey Pants award.

It always hits me when listening to the Rewatchables how many times Ryan and Fennessey beg him to elevate the discourse and he absolutely refuses.
 

sodenj5

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Someone touched in it before, but Bill has essentially outgrown his brand. If I have to hear another parent corner where he mentions his daughter’s soccer camp or all weekend soccer tournament where he tries to stream a football game, I’ll hang myself.

He never really was a blue collar working stiff from Boston, but it’s painfully obvious now that’s he a rich, middle aged white guy in SoCal that is attempting to maintain his previous persona.
 

Kliq

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I guess I disagree that the notion that Bill's popularity is tied to him being in the same tax bracket as his listeners. What originally made Simmons interesting, imo, was that he was a "real fan" and wrote passionately and openly about his favorite teams. Bill doesn't need to have a connection with blue-collar working stiffs, he needs to have a connection with the typical sports fan that has opinions colored by the interests of their favorite teams, and often times are controversial or flat out wrong. Him selling The Ringer for $200 million doesn't necessarily change that, he has been rich and famous for a long time.

This has come up before, I think like 5-6 years ago Bill mentioned that he was in a massive line at Starbucks and said he would be willing to pay a ton of money each month to allow him to cut the line at Starbucks to get his coffee immediately, and SoSH had a big litigation about what Bill actually meant by that and how this was a sign that Bill was losing his connection with the common sports fan because he could afford to Fast Pass his way through a coffee line.

Parent Corner is awesome btw and my favorite part of Guess The Lines pod.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The criticisms of Simmons are entirely fair but that Abbott piece manages to make Henry look worse than Simmons imho. TSC is spot on in their assessment of that article.

As Dev notes upthread, anyone who was here when Simmons was active knew he was thin skinned and could be difficult. Furthermore, its no shock that Simmons has been ambitious in terms of pursuing his career - none of the anecdotes shared about his behavior as well as the ESPN higher ups desire to placate him is the least bit surprising even if it was interesting.

Abbott, on the other hand, comes off a bit like Magary in terms of professional envy and, in the process, obscures the real issues with Simmons hiring practices imo. The article that needs to be written is one from a POC who worked for Simmons. That may be expecting too much given that it could be a career limiting move. However it would be far more relevant than Magary and Abbott coming up with their own Ewing Theories for why Simmons sucks for being a successful, power-hungry egomaniac in an industry that is mostly in disarray.
 
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