James Andrew Miller reported that four Grantland editors turned in resignations and will be working for Bill Simmons. He did not say which editors would be leaving, but Richard Deitsch learned that the four are Sean Fennessey, Mallory Rubin, Juliet Litman and Chris Ryan. In addition, Grantland’s founding editorial director, Dan Fierman, will be leaving the site to work for MTV News.
For many, this may have felt inevitable. Since Simmons left ESPN, speculation has been rampant over who would join him, and despite no one knowing exactly where Simmons will be writing, four of his former employees have joined a (seemingly) nonexistent entity. That obviously says a lot about the faith those editors have in Simmons, and it also says a lot about the situation at Grantland.
Though Miller also reported that ESPN has re-signed seven Grantland writers, that number was “overstated,” according to Deitsch. Given the tenuous nature of Grantland’s existence since Chris Connelly became interim editor-in-chief, it may not be surprising to see more staffers leave to join with Simmons.
The question as to whether or not Grantland can continue as is will be answered over the next few months. The site’s traffic has never been something to brag about, and without Simmons it may struggle to retain its roster of writers, editors and contributors. It’s impossible to say until we know exactly who has re-signed with Grantland, but fears of a downturn may be realized if Simmons can attract Grantland’s top talent.