In the H.R. equivalent of lining up to high-five a rival team after a foul-filled game, Bill Simmons has hired Charles P. Pierce, most recently of The Boston Globe, to write a column for Grantland, despite the pair’s longstanding feud.
It began in November 2009, when Mr. Pierce reviewed Mr. Simmons’s book, The Book of Basketball, on Deadspin. He took the opportunity to knock the messianic sportswriter down a notch.
“He did not reinvent sportswriting,” Mr. Pierce wrote, while allowing that Mr. Simmons was “an amusing writer who saw the vast potential of the Internet before just about anyone not named Gates or Gore.”
When the book came out in paperback in late last year, Deadspin noticed that Mr. Pierce’s name and his own book, Sports Guy, had been removed from The Book of Basketball’s bibliography. A footnote that had mentioned him in the original had been replaced with one referring to “one GQ writer.”
“Bill seems to have a much thinner skin than those work-a-day sportswriters whose efforts he’s made a career out of deriding,” Mr. Pierce told Deadspin.
Mr. Simmons responded on Twitter.
“Hey CPP: took you out of TBOB cuz you trashed it without ever mentioning that you used to email me all the time until I told you to eff off,” he wrote, adding that this pre-existing relationship made the review “dishonest.”
“You came off like a spurned lover in that piece,” Mr. Simmons added. “But seriously, good luck with your red-hot career.”
At the time, Mr. Pierce was writing a column for The Boston Globe and serving as a writer-at-large for Esquire. Not too shabby, if you ask us. But the arrangement had earned him a wrist slap from the Globe. Mr. Pierce wrote in an Esquire blog post that Christine O’Donnell was “a slideshow freak,” “a crackpot,” and “a deadbeat.” Globe policy forbids writers from making insulting personal comments about politicians, even in other publications.
It has no such policy regarding insulting other writers.
“And right back at you, you mendacious, whiny little thin-skinned bag of breeze, you,” Mr. Pierce wrote on Boston.com. “I’ve been thrown out of better joints than your bibliography.”
Yesterday Mr. Pierce told CommonWealth magazine that the dispute with the Globe was one of the reasons he left. He planned to contribute full-time to Esquire’s politics blog, and, yes, contribute to Grantland.
Mr. Simmons could not be reached for comment.
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