Cheers to ESPN Talk-Show Host Dan Le Batard—Another Voice of Conscience in the Sports World:

“If you’re not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, then you’re complicit.”



From a reader

On Thursday, July 18, Dan Le Batard, who has a sports talk show on ESPN TV and radio, unloaded on Donald Trump after Trump had tweeted “send her back”—referring to Ilhan Omar and other Congresswomen of "The Squad"—telling them they should go back to the countries where they came from (when in fact they are all U.S. citizens and three of the four were born here). In defiance of ESPN’s ban1 on its reporters and hosts commenting on non-sports related politics, Le Batard said about Trump’s fascist onslaught, “If you’re not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, then you’re complicit.” Le Batard, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba went on: “This is deeply offensive to me as somebody whose parents made all the sacrifices to get to this country. Send her back? How are you any more American than her? You’re more privileged? You’re whiter?”

Jemele Hill, a former ESPN anchor who quit the network last September after ESPN suspended her for calling Donald Trump “a white supremacist” on Twitter, wrote in The Atlantic: “The appeal of Le Batard is that he is the anti-sports sports analyst, and a big reason he’s become one of the most respected voices in sports media is that he is unafraid to tackle race and gender, whether sports are involved or not.”

Le Batard previously ended his show every day by playing a recording of Gregg Popovich, head coach of the NBA, San Antonio Spurs, saying, “...we live in a racist country.”

Le Batard was not on his show for a few days this past week, indicating that ESPN wanted him off the air. On Thursday, the network backed down and said that Le Batard would not be punished and would resume his on-air show.


1. ESPN does allow its reporters and talk-show host to talk about politics if it relates to sports, e.g., if a sports team refuses to go to the White House, but they do not allow anything that is not sports related. Le Batard denounced the policy as “cowardly.”[back]


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