ESPN’s Bill Simmons Gives Up MVP Vote After Wagering On Outcome
One of the oldest sayings in sportswriting is “No cheering in the press box.” One that ought to be equally prominent is “No wagering on the teams or players you’re covering.”
ESPN’s Bill Simmons has just learned that latter lesson in a very public way. He has given back his ballot for the NBA’s MVP award, because it was well known that he had bet on LeBron James to win.
BusinessInsider.com brought up the issue with ESPN, noting that Simmons had said on a podcast before the season started that he was betting on James to win the MVP. When Simmons recorded another podcast of him filling out his MVP ballot, the conflict of interest became tough to ignore, since he voted for James.
BusinessInsider.com says it received this response from ESPN on the matter:
“Bill had never received a ballot before and didn’t find out he had one until two-thirds of the season had passed. By that time he had made multiple MVP bets, two of which he had discussed on podcasts. He ended up withdrawing his MVP vote to avoid the perception of any conflict.”