Holding onto their reputation as the Worldwide Leader in Entertainment and Sports "Political" Network with all their might, ESPN personalities are defying President Jimmy Pitaro's stick-to-sports directive. Some of the network's biggest names trampled over his restrictions on politicizing their work, using social media to strongly advocate for government action to stop shooting massacres.
Pitaro had just recently reigned in Dan Le Batard for his radio program attack on President Trump's issue with the so-called "Squad" members. A staff report by Barrett Sports Media blog reported that, in the wake of the horrific killing sprees in El Paso and Dayton, ESPN employees are defying Pitaro by speaking out on the shootings.
"Over the weekend, plenty of ESPN personalities trudged into waters the company deemed too hot for them just a few short weeks ago," Barrett Sports Media wrote. "Despite network president Jimmy Pitaro’s reiterating that politics were off limits for ESPN in the wake of Dan Le Batard calling chants at one of President Trump’s rallies racist, plenty of high profile ESPN employees took to Twitter to demand the federal government take action in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend."
Most notably, college basketball analyst Dick Vitale (seen in photo above) tweeted:
Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN's senior NBA insider, tweeted, "We need strong leadership," and directed readers to the website of the gun control advocacy organization The Brady Plan.
NFL Insider Adam Schefter's Twitter account listed the locations of several mass shootings and closed with: "Only the sites and numbers change; nothing else does."
The Barrett report predicted it's unlikely ESPN would suspend any of the above: "It seems unlikely that Pitaro will suspend anyone for Tweets on this issue. In fact, it could reasonably be argued that the messages in these Tweets are not necessarily political."
Barrett's story said that, given what Pitaro recently went through with Le Batard and "with so many big names feeling passionate enough to speak out on gun violence in the wake of Saturday’s shootings, it will be interesting to see what moves Jimmy Pitaro makes."
Also, with a very contentious presidential election coming up next year, Barrett reasoned that it may make sense for Pitaro to "move the goal posts and allow ESPN's on-air staff to behave differently on Twitter than when they are on ESPN platforms."
No matter what course Pitaro opts for, Barrett predicted that Pitaro has painted himself into a corner and his job will likely only get tougher over the next several months.