After firing Grantland founder Bill Simmons in May, ESPN named Chris Connelly the website's interim editor-in-chief and it appeared as if the long-form sports story-telling platform would continue to serve millions in the future.
Well, it did for about five months. On Friday, ESPN shocked sports fans and the Internet by announcing the immediate shuttering of Grantland.
"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," ESPN's press release statement opened with.
"Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun," the company's statement continued. "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."
The move to shut down the site, comes two weeks after four Grantland staffers resigned to work for Simmons, presumably at HBO, where Simmons signed a deal in July to launch his own talk show.
Simmons blasted his former employer, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, upon learning the news Friday.
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
Friday's news came as a shock to many of Grantland's writers, many of whom took to their Twitter accounts to speak about it. Zach Lowe, one of the most prominent NBA writers in the country, simply tweeted:
/turns phone off — Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 30, 2015
Michael Baumann, a freelancer with Grantland, tweeted:
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