ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro repeatedly insists, "We are not a political network." Really? You had everyone fooled this week when your network's TV and radio talk show host Dan Le Batard went off on President Donald Trump over the controversy surrounding the radical leftist Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Le Batard said, “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.” He also agreed with Fox Sports' Nick Wright, who tweeted an attack on the president's remarks that Congresswoman Omar (D-Minn.) should return to her native Somalia “and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Des Bieler of The Washington Post sports staff, reports ESPN is now engaged in damage control trying to reassure the public that its no-politics policy hasn't changed. Good luck with that, President Pitaro!
Le Batard agreed with a tweet by Fox Sports' Nick Wright bashing the president.
On Wednesday, Wright wrote, “I don’t talk politics on here but this isn’t political, this is obvious: This is abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric and not calling it out makes you complicit. The ‘send her back’ chant + the ‘go back to where you came from’ are so antithetical to what we should be.”
“It is so right, what he is saying there,” Le Batard said of Wright. “It is so wrong, what the president of our country is doing, trying to get reelected by dividing the masses, at a time when the old white man, the old rich white man, feels oppressed, being attacked, by minorities.”
Le Batard, the son of Cuban immigrants, said, “This is deeply offensive to me, as somebody whose parents made all the sacrifices to get to this country. ‘Send her back’ — how are you any more American than her? You’re more privileged, you’re whiter, you’re richer. … You’ve had every privilege afforded to you by America. Every privilege. And now what you do with that power is you go after brown people and black people and minorities? And around here we won’t talk about it?"
Today, The Post quoted a source inside ESPN stating the company is “making it clear to everyone internally” that the policy on avoiding political commentary 'hasn’t changed.'” Bieler adds it isn't known if Le Batard will face discipline.
Inflammatory political remarks on social media by ESPN personalities became a huge issue in 2017 when then SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill tweeted that President Trump was a "white supremacist." She eventually moved on after her stormy career at ESPN. Pitaro became president a few months later and addressed the network's obvious problem with politics and left-wing bias:
“Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics. My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused.”