ESPN is suspending its culture and sports website, Grantland, according to a company statement on Friday.
There were questions about how long Grantland would continue to exist — if at all — after Simmons’ departure. Despite the loss of talent (including Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Wesley Morris to the New York Times), Grantland put up their best six months in terms of unique visitors in 2015 even after Simmons’ departure, according to CNN.
Well that’s the first time I’ve ever found out I was laid off via Twitter
— Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 30, 2015
However, this was roughly how Simmons found out his contract negotiations had ceased. A New York Times report in May broke the news to Simmons, according to CNN.
Here’s the full statement released Friday afternoon on ESPN’s site:
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.
Some of those “projects” include the long-coming website on sports and race called The Undefeated, popularly referred to as The Black Grantland. On Oct. 19, ESPN announced they poached Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida to serve as editor-in-chief.
Staffers took to Twitter to respond to the news:
NEVER A DULL MOMENT
— Molly Lambert (@mollylambert) October 30, 2015
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) October 30, 2015
Nothing gold can stay.
— Matt Borcas (@mattborcas) October 30, 2015
@Grantland33 was an incredible place, filled with even more amazing human beings. I’m going to miss it so, so much. Thanks for reading it.
— Mark Lisanti (@marklisanti) October 30, 2015
I loved doing stuff for Grantland. The folks I got to work with were really kind and so so talented. I’m just very grateful. Cheers to them.
— Jason Gallagher (@jga41agher) October 30, 2015
I want to thank @billsimmons for creating this thing and allowing me to be part of it. I was so proud to work with so many amazing writers.
— Steven Hy-loween-den (@Steven_Hyden) October 30, 2015
Simmons kept on trend and tweeted his condolences.
I loved everyone I worked with at G and loved what we built. Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 30, 2015
This post has been updated