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During one of his recent The B.S. Report podcasts, Grantland founder Bill Simmons went in on Roger Goodell and the NFL after seeing the way that they handled the Ray Rice situation. Simmons repeatedly called the NFL Commissioner a "liar" for saying some of the things that he said during his press conference late last week and dared ESPN to punish him for being so critical of the most powerful man in professional football.
And late yesterday, that's exactly what The Worldwide Leader in Sports did. They suspended Simmons for three weeks for his criticism of Goodell.
"Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN's journalistic standards," ESPN said in a statement released a short time after the news about Simmons' suspension began to spread on the Internet. "We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result, we have suspended him for three weeks."
It's not the first time Simmons has been suspended by ESPN. But in this particular instance, there are a ton of people out there who are angry with ESPN for suspending Simmons, because it appears as though they did it simply to salvage their relationship with the NFL. The prevailing belief is that Simmons should have been able to speak his mind freely with regards to Goodell—even if the things he said during his podcast weren't necessarily things that everyone at ESPN believes.
So in light of ESPN announcing Simmons' suspension, Twitter has created the hashtag #FreeSimmons and sent it to the top of the social media site's trending topics list by unleashing a series of very strong reactions to the news about Simmons. Here are some of the angriest #FreeSimmons tweets that we've come across since Simmons was suspended.