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.
The notice of suspension comes after a number of setbacks to Grantland, including the Simmons’ departure earlier this year after ESPN declined to renew his contract, and the subsequent exodus of several well-liked staffers. It’s also the latest blow to ESPN’s stable of sites that target subjects beyond sports. Over the summer, the network ousted the controversial sports columnist Jason Whitlock, who had been hired to build The Undefeated, a black-interest site modeled on Grantland.
“Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun,” the ESPN memo continues, “... 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.”
James Miller, a longtime ESPN chronicler, reports that the move to shut the site down was a “very recent one.” And a source tells me that Grantland staffers were informed about the announcement “a minute before the release went out.”
Update 2: Simmons weighs in:
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