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