ESPN Host Blasts Network For Discouraging Political Talk

Dan Le Batard

Dan Le Batard

His voice emotional, Le Batard called it "deeply offensive" that a Trump crowd chanted "send her back" at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, a chant directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who now is a US citizen representing Minnesota.

Dan Le Batard broke an ESPN policy on Thursday when he admonished Donald Trump on the air, and the longtime radio host was mysteriously absent from the start of his show the following morning.

Dan Le Batard launched into an impassioned political monologue Thursday, saying, "There's a racial division in this country that's being instigated by the president, and we here at ESPN haven't had the stomach for that fight".

In a May interview with Vox, ESPN President, Jimmy Pitaro, had this to say about the mix of politics and ESPN: "What we don't want is people to tune into ESPN, or people to tune into an ESPN feed on a social platform and get pure political commentary".

He referenced former "SportsCenter" host Jemele Hill, who apologized in 2017 for using Twitter to suggest that Trump is a white supremacist and a bigot.

Le Batard continued, "The "send her back" chant and the "go back to where you came from" chant are so antithetical". "And then here, all of a sudden, nobody talks politics on anything unless we can use one of these sport figures as a meat shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects". We don't talk about what is happening unless there's some sort of weak cowardly sports angle that we can run it through. "This is abhorrent, obviously racist, risky rhetoric and not calling it out makes you complicit.' The "send her back" chant and the 'go back to where you came from" are so antithetical to what we should be. "And if you're not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, unsafe rhetoric - you're complicit". His sidekick, Jon (Stugotz) Weiner, said Le Batard was eating "breakfast". This felt un-American. Basically, a chant, 'Send her back.' It's not the America that my parents came to get for us ...

ESPN has not commented on Le Batard's comments.

He suggested that ESPN will only discuss hot topics like racism if someone like SEAHAWKS quarterback RUSSELL WILSON posts about it on INSTAGRAM, calling it a "weak-ass shield. if you're not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, risky rhetoric, you're complicit".

Marchand later noted that ESPN has informed its employees that the policy about avoiding political discussion has not changed. It is so right what he (Wright) is saying there. You're more privileged? You're whiter? He mentioned that on-air personalities are only supposed to talk politics in reaction if a sports figure such as Warriors coach Steve Kerr or Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson do so and it makes news, calling that "a weak-ass shield". You go after brown people and black people and minorities?

Le Batard dared to remind us of that.