Muscle Sport Magazine

Does ESPN Have the Balls To Spank Dan Le Batard?

ESPN/Dan Le Batard Show/YouTube

“The Worldwide Leader in Sports” is at a crossroads of sorts. ESPN has once again delved into the political waters after finally putting aside the left-leaning angle they were purporting for a long time, one that put their ratings in the shitter. Jimmy Pitaro was named president in March of 2018, four months after John Skipper resigned due to substance abuse issues. (Hardly an excuse for allowing the hosts to treat the Bristol, Connecticut sets as if they said CNN or MSNBC on them.)

Pitaro promised to make changes and get away from the anti-Donald Trump banter that had become commonplace at the sports media outlet. To make matters worse, it had also become racially divisive with the entire ‘take-a-knee’ fiasco and their obvious support for the black athletes who were protesting against the police. So Pitaro, being a shrewd businessman, used the research data he had requested which told him that the viewers (present and former) wanted to see less politics and more sports – exactly what it was supposed to be all along.

It became company policy to steer away from talk of “pure politics” and that if it were sports-related, then it can be addressed. Sounds like common sense, right? Your boss doesn’t want to hear your personal political views and soap box them on his dime.

Enter Dan Le Batard, who showed some balls with his recent on-air tirade, but one that needs to be addressed by the suits, nonetheless. He openly defied Pitaro and mocked him at the same time because he is obviously anti-Trump and used the “send her back” chant by people at the president’s North Carolina rally when the controversial freshman congresswomen Ilhan Omar’s name was brought up to go on a political rant.


“We here at ESPN haven’t had the stomach for that fight, because Jemele [Hill] did some things on Twitter and you saw what happened after that, and then here all of a sudden nobody talks politics on anything unless we can use one of these sports figures as a meat-shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects,” Le Betard bestowed into the microphone.

“The only way we can discuss it around here—because this isn’t about politics, it’s about race; what you’re seeing happening around here is about race and it’s been turned into politics—we only talk about it around here when Steve Kerr or [Gregg] Popovich says something,” he continued. “We don’t talk about what is happening unless there’s some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through, when sports has always been a place where this stuff changes.”

“We won’t talk about it unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram page. Then we have the power to run with it. Weak-ass shield. It is antithetical to what we should be, and if you’re not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, you’re complicit.”

Ladies and gentlemen, that is called giving your boss the middle finger and daring him to shove one up your ass. If Pitaro wants to keep any self-respect, he needs to suspend Le Batard without pay for any length of time, even for one day.

Just because he did not agree with what occurred at a rally doesn’t mean he has the right to go completely off-script and be defiant. If Le Batard wants to do that, he can resign and start his own podcast spewing left-wing rhetoric; that’s not what he’s getting paid a seven-figure salary by ESPN for.

But just like the since-departed aforementioned Hill before him, Le Batard has what is akin to a ‘get out of jail free’ card, aka the ‘race card’ to hold up since he is the product of two Cuban immigrants. That should not hold back Pitaro from taking action. He has not done so as of this writing, even after the network publicly stated that their ‘no politics’ policy was still in place.

If Le Batard skates on this one, it will be another empty threat like former president Barack Obama’s “red line in the sand” statement about Syria. (We’re sure Le Batard can relate to that debacle.)

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