Dan Le Batard rips ESPN for no-politics approach: It is a 'cowardly' and 'weak-ass shield'

Alex Reimer
July 19, 2019 - 12:15 pm
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For the last year-and-a-half, ESPN has proudly shied away from political and social issues. Network president Jimmy Pitaro will tell anybody who will listen how the WorldWide Leader is now apolitical, thanks to his sterling leadership and apparent mandate to kiss up to Clay Travis and other bad faith trolls. 

And Dan Le Batard is sick of it.

In a captivating rant Thursday, Le Batard ripped into ESPN for only discussing social issues through the guise of sports, calling the tactic cowardly. The radio host spent the segment condemning President Trump for his racist attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar, which culminated in a fervent crowd at one of his rallies chanting “Send her back!” earlier this week.

Rep. Omar is a Somali refugee and naturalized U.S. citizen who represents Minnesota’s fifth congressional district.

“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 Batard said, per Deadspin. “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.”

Le Barard went on to say he thinks anybody with a platform who doesn’t speak out against Trump’s racially charged rhetoric is complicit in the president’s character assassinations. “We won’t talk about it unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram page,” Le Barard said. “Then we have the power to run with it. Weak-ass shield.”

Kudos to Le Batard for speaking his mind and outright defying ESPN management, which touts its new policy of avoidance at every turn. Midsummer is a nice time to get suspended, at least. 

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