- ESPN’s Dan Le Batard bucked company policy and ripped into President Donald Trump and people who chanted “send her back!” during a recent MAGA rally.
- Le Batard criticized ESPN for not having the stomach to stand up to racist rhetoric.
- The son of Cuban immigrants called the chants “deeply offensive” and “un-American.”
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ESPN’s Dan Le Batard ripped into President Donald Trump and his recent MAGA rally in North Carolina during his show on Thursday, describing the event and specifically the crowd’s chants of “send her back!” as “un-American.”
Le Batard first addressed ESPN’s company policy has been for broadcast talent to remain apolitical, and the frustrations that come with such a restriction.
“There’s a racial division in this country that’s being instigated by the president,” Le Batard said. “And 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. Then, here, all of the 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 the subject.”
Le Batard then crediting Fox Sports 1’s Nick Wright, who had tweeted out that the attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar were “abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric and not calling it out makes you complicit.”
Le Batard agreed with Wright and used his show to amplify the point.
“The ‘send her back’ chant and the ‘go back to where you came from’ are so antithetical to what we should be,” Le Batard said. “It is so right what [Wright] is saying there. It is so wrong what the president of our country is doing, trying to go down getting reelected by dividing the masses at a time when the old white man, the old, rich white man feels oppressed being attacked by minorities.”
He went on to express frustration with the company’s policy that sometimes forces the show to avoid topics of race and racism unless they are framed around the comments of a sports figure.
“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 been a place where this stuff changes.”
You can watch Le Batard’s segment in full below.
Le Batard earned praise for his comments on Twitter, from both fans and former ESPN employees such as Jemele Hill, who was suspended by the company after calling Trump a white supremacist on Twitter.
Courageous, accurate commentary by Dan. I’m sure stick-to-sports-Guy/girl is having a meltdown somewhere, but one of the many reasons I left is that I was tired of the pretense Dan discusses here. https://t.co/DbVZZQD0fM
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 19, 2019
ESPN might prefer to stay out of politics, but Le Batard is one of the few personalities at the company with both the conviction and the following capable of taking such a stance.
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