ESPN has decided to “suspend” their popular website “Grantland” with the word suspend really meaning shut down permanently. The news comes after months of controversy surrounding it and founder, Bill Simmons, who was fired by the network earlier this year.


“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,” ESPN said in a statement.

“Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun,” the ESPN statement said. “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.

Its final lead article was about interim coaches like the Miami Dolphins’ Dan Campbell.

ESPN did not offer detailed reasons for its decision to immediately end the run of the four-year-old sports and culture website founded by Simmons other than that generic statement.

ESPN seems to have concluded that some of Grantland’s long articles could appear on espn.com and that it did not have much need for the site’s cultural coverage.

According to Grantland’s “contributors” page, the site has 32 writers and editors, with numerous others listed as contributors to the site. CNN media reporter Brian Stelter put the number of people affected by the site’s termination at 40, and said on Twitter that some will remain with the company. This was confirmed by ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys, who said on Twitter that “the intent is to use the sportswriters on other ESPN platforms.

There was such an outpouring of affection for the site that “Grantland” was a top trending topic on Twitter within half an hour of the announcement.

“I loved Grantland more than I’ve ever loved anything on the Internet,” wrote alum Kevin Lincoln, now an editor for New York magazine.

ESPN’s statement praised Grantland for having “quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun” and singled out Simmons for being “an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent.”

Simmons’ replacement, Chris Connelly, will “return to his prior role” at “SportsCenter” and the newsmagazine “E:60,” the statement said.

An ESPN spokeswoman said the company remains “totally committed” to two of its other digital offshoots, FiveThirtyEight and The Undefeated. Those two were modeled after Grantland.