ESPN’s Dan Le Batard Blasts The Network Over ‘No Politics’ Policy While Calling Out President Trump Over Racist Remarks
After taking over as President of ESPN last year, Jimmy Pitaro made it very clear that he wanted his anchors to steer clear about talking about politics.
Via LA Times
“Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics,” Pitaro said. “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused.”
During the week, FS1’s Nick Wright came out and spoke against President Trump when his supporters began chanting “send her back” directed at Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar.
Wright’s response prompted ESPN’s Dan LeBatard to against his bosses orders when he addressed President Trump’s remarks and the network’s policy about not talking about politics on air.
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.”
“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. 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.”
LeBatard is one of ESPN’s biggest stars, so it would be interesting to see how the network handles the situation.