ESPN host Dan Le Batard did not mince a single word Thursday, criticizing his network’s policy discouraging hosts from discussing politics as “cowardly” and “weak-ass.”
His anger stemmed from President Donald Trump’s supporters at a rally that could be heard “send her back,” in direct response to Rep. Ilhan Omar.
“So what happened last night, this felt un-American,” said Le Batard, whose parents came to the U.S. from Cuba, referencing Trump’s vicious rally in North Carolina on Wednesday. “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.”
Le Batard continued:
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. Black people, brown people, women: That’s who we’re going after now. Black people, brown people, women: Let’s do it, as the platform.
That’s what you’re seeing. And 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 has been 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.
After the video went viral, Jemele Hill’s name immediately began to trend because she was suspended twice by ESPN for her tweets about Trump before she ultimately left the company.
Hill took to Twitter on Friday and fired off several tweets on the situation:
It does not appear Le Batard has been suspended, but he was noticeably absent for the first hour of his show on Friday morning.
It’ll be interesting to see how ESPN handles the situation moving forward.