ESPN shutting down Grantland immediately

ESPN is effectively wiping itself clean of any mark Bill Simmons may have left at the company, shutting down his Grantland site effective immediately. Simmons founded the sports and pop culture blog in 2011.

The Worldwide Leader and Simmons had a messy breakup leading to ESPN not renewing his contract and his subsequent departure last May. Chris Connelly had been filling in since Simmons left.

If the shutdown seems sudden, that’s because it is, with SI’s Richard Deitsch and others confirming as much via Twitter.

 

ESPN's handling of @Grantland33 and its staff post-Simmons has been, to be blunt, a train wreck. That staff deserved much better.

— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 30, 2015

The decision to end @Grantland33 was a very recent one according to sources at @espn

— James Andrew Miller (@JimMiller) October 30, 2015

ESPN announced the news Friday via the following statement:

Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland.  After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.

Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun.  We are grateful to those who made it so.  Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent.  Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.

Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports