A couple of developing stories this morning on two well known names in the sports media.
First, John Ourand of Sports Business Daily/Sports Business Journal tweeted details of the now not so secret ESPN.com-owned Bill Simmons project.
SBD: Details emerge about @sportsguy33‘s project. It’s a website, 70/30 sports/pop culture. Spring launch will have 8-12 writers on staff.
And added this:
SBD: Simmons’ site has no name and is still hiring a top editor. Will be fully owned by ESPN. But ESPN brand isn’t part of the site’s name.
John also talked with Simmons about the site.
We know that former Deadspin contributor Katie Baker will be part of the site. Peter Kafka from All Things Digital’s Media Memo learned that Chuck Klosterman will also write for Simmons.
The site is expected to launch sometime in the Spring.
UPDATE: 12:05 p.m.: A third writer for Simmons’ site has now been identified. Lane Brown of New York Magazine’s Vulture site announced that he’ll be working there as well.
Exclusive! Today is my last day at Vulture and NY magazine. I’m joining Bill Simmons’ new site as the editor of the pop-culture section.
So the mix will be 70% sports and 30% pop culture. Not that I read Captain Blowhard, his columns became extremely tedious after 2004, but I’m not sure I’ll be visiting this site. Not that he needs my input or cares what I do, but I find him to be very pompous and long-winded. Simmons is not my cup of tea, but he has a large legion of fans so apparently I’m in the minority who dislikes his writing. I don’t begrudge anyone who likes him. It will be interesting to see how this site takes off.
The other story that broke this morning comes from the great Mike McCarthy of USA Today who reports that Golf Channel has removed the polarizing Jim Gray from its coverage of the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open after he got into yet another argument, this time with Dustin Johnson’s caddie.
Ryan Ballengee of NBC’s Pro Golf Talk has some more details on yesterday’s incident.
You may remember that Gray got into an argument last year with Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and his wife after he reported that Pavin would name Tiger Woods to the team, something that Pavin denied at the time.
It may be the last time Gray works for Golf Channel. A spokesman would not tell Mike if Golf Channel would use him again. Of course, Gray didn’t come off well as the hand-picked interviewer for the LeBron James-led abortion known as “The Decision” back in July.
This could be the third strike for Gray as he seems to attract controversy everywhere he goes. Ever since his 1999 World Series interview of Pete Rose where he treated Rose like a hostile witness, Gray has been a lightning rod. There’s no doubt that Gray is a very good bulldog reporter, but these arguments and confrontations don’t help a reputation that’s shotty to begin with. Whether Gray works for Golf Channel again is anyone’s guess. I would think the window of him working for any of the major networks has closed for good.
This certainly has become one of the more interesting days covering the sports media.