ESPN Suspends Popular Twitter User

Patrick Avery

Bill Simmons, a popular ESPN personality and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Book of Basketball," was suspended by ESPN for violating the company's social-networking guidelines. Simmons openly criticized one of ESPN's partner radio stations on his Twitter account, which led to the suspension, according to editor-in-chief Rob King.


In a blog post Friday, King says, "No one knows the guidelines better than Bill Simmons, and he customarily works within these standards.


"While it's unfortunate -- and sometimes painful -- that not everyone outside of ESPN chooses to play by such rules, we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards. Regardless of the provocation, Bill's communication regarding WEEI fell short of those standards. So we've taken appropriate measures."


According to the sports site The Big Lead, Simmons told a fan at a book signing that he had been suspended from Twitter for two weeks. However he is able to continue to tweet about his current book tour. So far, there have been no tweets on Simmons' account since Saturday.


It was announced in early August that ESPN had decided to police its employees' social-media use. The sports network guidelines say that on-air talent, reporters and writers are prohibited from having sports-related blogs or Web sites and that they will need a supervisor's approval to discuss sports on any social-networking sites. They will also be restricted from discussing internal policies or detailing how stories are "reported, written, edited or produced."


"We have internal guidelines designed to inform how we discuss the topic of sports media," King says in his blog post. "These guidelines are important us, because they help maintain the credibility with which ESPN operates."


Simmons writes a column called the Sports Guy for and hosts a podcast called the BS Report. He has more than a million followers on Twitter.


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