Bill Simmons, the prominent sports analyst
and columnist for ESPN, was recently let go by the sports media conglomerate in
what was a public debacle.  Prior to
their split, Simmons was employed by ESPN for roughly 15 years.

For context, Simmons and ESPN had a
tenuous relationship at best, with the former being suspended multiple times
over the course of his 15 years with the company.  At one point Simmons claimed that ESPN’s
office culture was so unkind to him with rumors flying every which way, that
“it was f—–g high school.”

In a recent interview with the
Hollywood Reporter, Simmons had the following to say about his split with ESPN,
“They’ve now gotten rid of everybody who is a little off the beaten path.  Ask yourself this: ‘Who would work there that
you respect right now?”  

Clearly, Simmons is suggesting that
ESPN is responsible for his split with them, not the other way around.

ESPN President John Skipper issued the
following public statement:

Bill would rather spin conspiracy theories and
be perceived as a martyr than take responsibility for his own actions.  Let me be unequivocal and clear and take
responsibility for my actions: I alone made the decision, and it had nothing to
do with his (prior) comments about the commissioner.  I severed our (ESPN’s) relationship with Bill
because of his repeated lack of respect for this company and, more importantly,
the people who work here.

It’s apparent from the two
aforementioned statements which party is sour about Simmons’ departure—it sure
isn’t ESPN.  Quite simply, Skipper, the
ESPN president, handled his company’s severance with Bill Simmons gracefully
and candidly, whereas Simmons acted petty and childish.

Simmons has a few things in the
pipeline after his split with ESPN, but he didn’t do himself any favors by
coming off as sour and unprofessional in public.  Additionally, Skipper’s statement on
Simmons—a statement made to squash the drama once and for all—clued potential
future employers/colleagues into what working with Simmons would be
like—miserable.  In the long-run, this
might be a headache for Simmons that could have been easily avoided with a bit
of class and restraint.

How has the leadership of your organization
kept professional in similar situations?Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and join the discussion! 

Contributor: Jack Haandraadts, Account Coordinator at Marketing Maven