Behind the scenes with Dan Le Batard
Miami-based ESPN television and radio host Dan Le Batard met Thursday in New York with network president Jimmy Pitaro and emerged unpunished for last week violating ESPN’s policy against overt political commentary.
Le Batard will remain at ESPN as host of the “Highly Questionable” TV show and of the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on ESPN Radio. He will be back on the TV show Friday and back on the radio show Monday.
Le Batard last Thursday took on the president of the United States and his own network’s no-pure-political-talk policy in a fiery, four-minute rebuke of both Trump and ESPN management’s stick-to-sports edict except when sports and politics intersect, such as Colin Kaepernick or Trump’s tweets to Megan Rapinoe.
His voice emotional, Le Batard called it “deeply offensive” that a Trump crowd chanted “send her back” at a rally in North Carolina on July 17, a chant directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who now is a U.S. citizen representing Minnesota. Le Batard accused Trump of instigating racial division and called the chant “un-American.”
Le Batard’s own parents fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba so he and his brother might find better lives in America.
Le Batard faced a possible suspension. 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. Le Batard after Thursday’s meeting deferred to Pitaro for any comment.
An ESPN spokesperson indicated the network is not planning to have any public comment. However, a Herald source indicated Thursday’s meeting was “a positive conversation” and that progress was made. There are no indications, however, that Pitaro will relax the policy that Le Batard openly criticized last week.