Bill Simmons, Sour Grapes, and Leaving Well

From my 10/16 article at

When Bill Simmons left ESPN in May, it was very clearly under unpleasant circumstances. He and ESPN president John Skipper, as well as other management, had been at odds for some time. Simmons, the “Sports Guy,” was known during his tenure of 13-plus-years as the voice of the fan, which sometimes meant he drew fast and shot from the hip.

. . .

Amid significant speculation, Simmons has since signed with HBO to host a program and produce documentaries. He also relaunched his popular podcast, which had gone off the air since May. In his very first episode back he came out with guns blazing, firing at ESPN management and insulting former co-workers. In a subsequent episode he attacked them for not supporting a sports and pop culture website he started.

Simmons knows how to offer fair criticisms. He can sort through an issue in an evenhanded way. But this wasn’t journalistic criticism or levelheaded parsing of business decisions. It was sour grapes and slinging mud.

. . .

Here are five ways to leave well and maintain dignity in the process:

  • Speak the truth in love. If you must address issues within the organization, do so forthrightly and honestly, but only do so to pertinent ears and with utmost respect for any individuals involved. If an individual was the problem, point that out without insult.
  • Don’t speak all the truth you know. Airing all grievances and emptying out the company’s underwear drawer is poor form and gossip. . .
  • Answer not a fool according to his folly. If you were let go unjustly or departed on unfriendly terms not of your own making, then a wrong was done. You were sinned against. Someone made a poor decision, a foolish one. Firing back in kind will not make the situation better, nor will it ingratiate you to any future employers. Defend your character and professional reputation as needed, but don’t be a fool in kind.
  • Leave no collateral damage. No good except perverse satisfaction comes from bringing the company down or humiliating someone. . .
  • Imagine Starbucks. No, not because caramel macchiatos make you happy, but because that’s where you might run into a former boss or co-worker. . .
Read the full article HERE. is a paid subscriptions site. Get a free 30-day trial by registering with your email. 

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