Bill Simmons Called Out For Old Article Sexualising WNBA Players

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons is the subject of intense criticism today, with a controversial old article of his doing the rounds on social media.

In the article, published on ESPN’s website almost 20 years ago, Simmons suggested the WNBA’s ratings were struggling because the players lacked sex appeal.

Here’s an excerpt from Simmons’ piece:

“Well, the vast majority of WNBA players lack crossover sex appeal,” Simmons wrote. “That’s just the way it is. Some are uncomfortably tall and gawky, while others lack the requisite, um, softer qualities to captivate males between 18 and 35. The baggy uniforms don’t help. Neither does the fact that it’s tough for anyone to look attractive at the end of a two-hour basketball game.

Then again, maybe these realities don’t matter as much as one would think, because Sue Bird is downright adorable — even when wearing Rip Hamilton’s Schnozzaroo — and I wouldn’t watch 10 minutes of a WNBA game because of her. If Sue was walking around at the ESPYs in a cocktail dress, I’m watching. If she’s running a pick and roll with Lauren Jackson, I’m flicking channels. And according to sagging attendance, I’m not alone.”

The old article re-surfaced the same day that former ESPN writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss said on Simmons’ podcast that WNBA teams should have the same names as their NBA counterparts, instead of “forcing” people to learn WNBA team names. Simmons was on board with Strauss’ take.

The end result of all this — the old article and the recent team name comments — has been a whole lot of outrage. The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and The Denver Post’s Sarah Kelly were among those to speak out.

Here’s a taste of what went down on Twitter (X) today:














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