ESPN has suspended commentator Bill Simmons for three weeks after he called National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar in a podcast this week.
In the podcast, Mr. Simmons said Mr. Goodell and the NFL were lying by saying they didn't know what was on a security videotape that showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious in an elevator.
"Goodell, if he didn't know what was on the tape, he's a liar," Mr. Simmons said. "If you put him up on a lie-detector test, that guy would fail."
During the podcast, Mr. Simmons challenged ESPN to discipline him.
The comments didn't live up to ESPN's standards, the sports network said in a statement on its website.
"Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN's journalistic standards," the network said yesterday. "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."
Mr. Goodell and the NFL have been criticized for mishandling the domestic-violence incident in February involving Rice at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
In July, Mr. Rice was suspended two games by the NFL for knocking Janay Palmer unconscious. She is now married to Mr. Rice.
Mr. Goodell banned Rice from the league indefinitely this month, when the website TMZ released a security video from inside the elevator that showed Mr. Rice punching Mr. Palmer. Mr. Rice has appealed his suspension.
ESPN two months ago disciplined another of its commentators for comments on the Mr. Rice case. In July, the network suspended Stephen A. Smith for one week after he suggested women play a role in provoking domestic violence. He apologized.
~ Bloomberg News ~