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ESPN and Bill Simmons are Divorcing

ESPN president announces that the company will not renew Simmons' contract

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Times broke a story this morning titled: Bill Simmons and ESPN to Part Ways.  Simmons' contract will expire this fall and he and the company have been working on an extension for months, but discussions have not proved fruitful.

"I've decided that I'm not going to renew his contract," said John Skipper, the president of ESPN. "We've been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren't going to get to the terms, so we were better off focusing on transition."

The good news for sports fans is that Grantland, the site founded by Simmons in June of 2011, will not disappear with his departure from ESPN.

"It [Grantland] long ago went from being a Bill Simmons site to one that can stand on its own," Skipper said.

Last year Simmons became something of a "free-speech" martyr during the three weeks he was suspended by ESPN after he called Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, a "liar," during one of his podcasts.

Skipper said that the incident had no bearing on his decision to end ESPN's relationship with Simmons.

Simmons has written two books, the first was published in 2005, a collection of his columns titled:  Now I Can Die in Peace.  The second published in 2008 titled: The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. In it he discusses, among many other things, the best players and teams of all time.

Now the big question is what's next for the Sports Guy?

Simmons could join another traditional media company, like Fox, or a digital media outlet like Yahoo. Or he could use his high profile to start his own multimedia platform with investment from private equity.

One thing we can be sure of, Bill Simmons will continue to be outspoken because that's how he became such an influential sports personality. Wherever he ends up, Portland's soccer-mom fans will have plenty to rile against.