ESPN’s Dan Le Batard criticized Pres. Donald Trump on air in mid-July, but apparently won’t be penalized.
A week after his comments, Le Batard met with ESPN’s president Jimmy Pitaro July 25, the Washington Post reported based on anonymous sources.
“Le Batard faced a possible suspension,” according to the Miami Herald. “The Associated Press reported that ESPN management sent an email to all employees on a day after reminding them of its no-political-talk policy. Neither ESPN nor Le Batard have publicly commented on the matter.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, after Le Batard’s July 18 comments, ESPN sent a memo to staff reminding not to talk about politics unless it is through the lens of sports. In 2017, ESPN created the guidelines calling for its news side to only comment on politics if it’s related to sports. It also released social media guidelines advising against “overt partisanship.”
Le Batard’s comments
“We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through,” Le Batard said July 18. “This isn’t about politics; it’s about race.”
Le Batard said in part:
“So, what happened last night. This felt un-American. Basically, a chant, ‘Send her back.’ It’s not the America that my parents came to get for us … There’s a racial division in this country that’s being instigated by the president. 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.”
He also said, according to USA Today:
“This isn’t about politics, it’s about race – what you’re seeing happening around here is about race being turned into politics. And 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.”