By MICHAEL FRANCA
Miami-based ESPN personality — and University of Miami graduate — Dan Le Batard is no stranger to controversy. He has a history of testing the limits of his employers… and getting suspended for doing so.
For example, he’s been suspended for paying for billboards mocking LeBron James and calling an ESPN film about Bob Knight a “mountain of elephant crap.” He even lost his MLB Hall of Fame vote for allowing Deadspin to cast his ballot one year.
Le Batard, though, has had good reason for each of these actions; whether it be in the name of fun or in protest.
He’s also notorious for hosting a national radio show on ESPN that isn’t necessarily about sports. He focuses on the pop culture and social elements of the sports world and often ventures entirely out of this environment.
So when the footage of Donald Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush leaked and was defended as “locker room talk,” Le Batard suggested that the controversy was right in his show’s wheelhouse.
When he asked the rules surrounding his ability to talk about the subject, his producer told him that he “probably said too much already.” While he said he understood the hesitancy by ESPN to approach anything regarding politics, he was upset that they didn’t trust him enough to cover the subject without taking a political stance.
Le Batard later admitted that he would be suspended if he did end up talking about the Trump tape on air.
While it may be sensible that ESPN try and avoid anything that could result in political stances being taken, Le Batard has a proven track record of handling tricky subjects without displaying any bias.
It’s also interesting that the Colin Kaepernick protest sparked conversations on ESPN airwaves that contained political opinions and no objections were raised. Clearly the issue is taking a stance on an issue involving a candidate running for office.