Strap on your tinfoil hats, kids. It’s time for another edition of “NBA Conspiracies.”
After the Miami Heat had wrapped up their second title in two years, it was time for celebrating, congratulating and of course, ruminating on the legacy of LeBron James. Luckily for viewers, ESPN’s Bill Simmons was on hand to put the whole thing into perspective—that is, before he was shut down in midsentence.
Simmons joined his co-hosts on NBA Countdown after the game and was in the middle of discussing James’ performance when the interruption occurred, which was picked up by Chris Greenberg of Huffington Post Sports (video via @WorldofIsaac). The analyst was talking about how James was considered a “walking ring” by teams when he was on the market, and then decided to take a moment to address James’ “decision.”
Aaaand cue darkness.
The moment the words “The Decision” left Simmons' mouth, the broadcast feed winked out and viewers were left staring at a black screen. Several seconds of scratchy, picture-less audio passed before the station was back on air, but this time they were back at ESPN’s mothership studio in Bristol.
Technical difficulties, right? Of course.
Issues with the feed occur frequently in live television but rarely does it happen in postgame coverage shows—rarer still does it occur at moments as deliciously ironic as cutting off Simmons as he discusses a sensitive subject.
Simmons is an extension of ESPN that the company has had difficulty reining in, and he has been censored several times before by the network, with the most recent occasion triggering the analyst to go to Twitter to trash his employer.
So it would make perfect sense in some people’s minds for ESPN to hit the red button and nuke the feed when Simmons started talking about the embarrassing media circus ESPN hyped in 2010 over James’ decision to come to Miami.
So if you buy into Big Brother cutting off Simmons' angle, it looks like a purposeful move. It’s an easy buy, you just have to adjust your foil in the right direction.