Here is the official statement from ESPN PR:
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.
Of course, Simmons heard the unexpected news and reacted as below:
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
The situation put a lot of people writing for Grantland out of work and unfortunately, it appeared as though none of the writers were notified of the decision before it went public on twitter. It won’t put everyone out of work, though, as detailed by Mike Soltys of ESPN:
All Grantland writers will have their contracts honored. The intent is to use the sportswriters on other ESPN platforms. — Mike Soltys (@espnmikes) October 30, 2015
Plenty of respected writers around the league, including those who wrote for Grantland, along with media members saw the event unfold (again, on twitter) and shared their reactions, the love for the fantastic site and distaste for ESPN’s decision:
I will always be a fan of the NBA but I don’t think I will ever be quite as much of a fan of NBA writing without the @Grantland33 collective
— Brent Barry (@Barryathree) October 30, 2015
I’ve loved Grantland as a reader and a colleague and am sad about today’s news.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 30, 2015
FWIW, 538 isn’t affected by the news. We’ve been growing our audience & maturing. Real proud of everyone. More hard work ahead. — Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 30, 2015
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) October 30, 2015
Best gig I ever had. — Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) October 30, 2015
What an awesome couple of years, though.
— Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) October 30, 2015
hi — Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 30, 2015
/turns phone off
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 30, 2015
angry fists, proud tears.
angry fists, proud tears.
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) October 30, 2015
Well that’s the first time I’ve ever found out I was laid off via Twitter — Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 30, 2015
I was never anything but a freelancer there, so I’m not high up on the list of people to tell, but some advance warning would’ve been nice. — Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 30, 2015
What an awesome couple of years, though. — Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) October 30, 2015
It’s crazy to think a site as great as Grantland is being shut down, but then again ESPN is involved so of course. The idiocracy wins. — Frank Madden (@brewhoop) October 30, 2015
Ridiculous shortsighted terrible decision. Grantland was too good for this world. — Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) October 30, 2015
Bill Simmons may have been a pain in the ass, but he gave ESPN some of its most creative, enjoyable ideas. Grantland topped the list. — Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) October 30, 2015
I prefer at times like these to be grateful rather than sad. Frankly, it’s amazing that Grantland was able to exist at all. — Steven Hy-loween-den (@Steven_Hyden) October 30, 2015
ESPN is closing grantland b/c it doesn’t have a “broad appeal”. next sentence, they say grantland had “quality writing” and “smart ideas” — neil mccauley (@the_blueprint) October 30, 2015
Unfortunately, this is another sad reminder that hot takes & click bait generate a lot more money than thoughtful, quality journalism… — Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) October 30, 2015
You write the best you can and you hope things work out. All you can really do. — Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 30, 2015
Might fuck around and unlearn how to read. — RUSS BENGT$ON (@russbengtson) October 30, 2015
Whether you liked Grantland or not, its ending means there is one less outlet that pays writers a fair wage. This hurts all of us. — Molly Knight (@molly_knight) October 30, 2015
Y’all knew Bill Simmons shit talking was going to annoy ESPN into screwing w/ Grantland. Just hate this led to a lot of collateral damage — MyTweetsDelusionalAF (@CountryDumb662) October 30, 2015
Professional writing was a better world with Grantland in it. — Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) October 30, 2015
Ask yourself: is the journalism site you work for killing good journalism? If so, then beware about berating ESPN for the business decision. — Jimmy Spencer (@JimmySpencerNBA) October 30, 2015
Grantland’s great writers will be fine. Still a shame. At too many major nat’l outlets, clickbait/controversy cheaper/easier than journalism — Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) October 30, 2015
Grantland is the type of journalism we all aspire to in this business. That’s the shame. Even one day without @ZachLowe_NBA is one too many.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 30, 2015
Does this mean we’re not doing Stonehenge tomorrow — ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) October 30, 2015
So many writers & editors flourished at @Grantland33. The world is better for it, and other publications will reap those rewards.
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) October 30, 2015
Terrible awful stupid f—-d up decision. https://t.co/YoFj6rJJlV
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) October 30, 2015
Pulling for the folks over there. Really rare in today’s clickbait age to see people do thoughtful work on a daily basis.
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) October 30, 2015
Everyone realizes that banner ads suck, but buyers want scale. Until we create something better that scales across the web, we’re doomed. — Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) October 30, 2015
Jim Park is a blogger and author of Tweet of the Night for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.