On Friday, Tedy Bruschi of ESPN made the case for a new Commissioner in a clear and passionate way. On Monday, Bill Simmons of ESPN opted for something equally passionate, but also more than a little profane.
“Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar,” Simmons said Monday on his podcast, via Mediaite.com. “I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. For all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such f–king bullsh-t. It really is. It’s such f–king bullsh-t. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”
Simmons later reiterated his belief that Goodell is a liar, and then Simmons dared ESPN to tell him to tone it down.
“I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” Simmons said. “Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The Commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. . . . Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.”
With so many voices so aggressively attacking Goodell and the Ravens, ESPN seems to be daring the league to retaliate. Which has prompted some in the media to wonder whether, if Goodell ultimately survives, he’ll hold a grudge against the network that once canceled Playmakers at the insistence of his predecessor. (The league thought Playmakers unfairly depicted pro football players . . . and the story lines from the last two weeks would have been rejected at the time as way too far fetched.)
On one hand, it would be easier at this point for Goodell to list those who haven’t called him out in the last two weeks. On the other hand, ESPN has been the loudest and the most blunt in its attacks on the Commissioner.
Throw in the quickly eroding report about the Ravens’ mishandling of the case and, yeah, it makes sense for ESPN to be a little nervous about coexisting with the league office and the Ravens if the dust settles with the key players still in place in both Baltimore and Manhattan.