After news of ESPN’s decision to suspend sports writer Bill Simmons over his recent Roger Goodell tirade hit the interwebs last night, we deployed a poll question to see how consumers were reacting. A little over 12 hours later we have a representative sample of 2,424 US adults to look at.
Less than a day after the news broke, nearly 50% of respondents knew nothing about it. Among the informed group, however, a slight majority indicated that they were opposed to the suspension and that they felt Simmons was simply being honest and accurate in his assessment of Roger Goodell.
A closer look at the data, however, tells a different story. The group of respondents who believe Simmons’ suspension was justified was heavily dominated by respondents over the age of 54. This should come as no surprise for two reasons: First, we can assume that older respondents may expect higher standards of decorum from media personalities and were thus bothered by the tone and content of Simmons’ rant; Second, and more importantly, these older respondents fall well outside of Simmons’ core audience demo.
Let’s look at only respondents between the ages of 25 and 54 to see what we find:
While the General Population figures were closely split, the results among Simmons’ targeted demographic group are a runaway. Opposition to the suspension runs at nearly 2-to-1 compared to those who agree with it.
You can interpret this anyway you want. Maybe younger sports fans are more likely to share Simmons’ harsh view of Roger Goodell. Or maybe they are just such big fans of Bill Simmons that he can do no wrong in their eyes. Either way, it’s clear that ESPN’s decision was unpopular among this valuable sports fan demographic.