After taking over as ESPN’s President, Jimmy Pitaro shifted the network away from politics and back to pure sports. It was a firm decision to move away from the socially conscious commentary of people like former ESPNer Jemele Hill, and just stick to sports.
That practice remained in effect until yesterday when ESPN radio and TV personality, Dan Le Batard, ignored those “no politics” rules to speak on the racially charged comments made by Trump supporters at a rally Wednesday night, where they targeted Democratic Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, with chants of “Send her back!”
During Thursday’s broadcast of the “Dan Le Batard Show,” the longtime ESPN host recapped what took place at the rally in North Carolina before taking aim at Trump’s inflaming of racism and how ESPN has approached the subject since former ESPN host, Jemele Hill’s, exit.
Stop what you're doing and watch this.@LeBatardShow responds to the racist "Send her back" and "Go back to your country" attacks against Ilhan Omar and other congresswomen.
"If you're not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, you're complicit." pic.twitter.com/ntOC2Seg3b
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) July 18, 2019
“So, what happened last night. This felt un-American.” said Le Batard. “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.
“What happened last night at this rally is deeply offensive. Done by the president of our country. … Nick Wright writes ‘I don’t talk politics on here, but this isn’t political. This is abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric and not calling it out makes you complicit.’ The ‘send her back’ chant and the ‘go back to where you came from’ are so antithetical to what we should be.’ It is so right what he (Wright) is saying there. 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.”
Le Batard ignored the “no politics” policy to speak his mind, supporting his family, who immigrated to the United States, former colleagues like Jemele Hill, Black and Brown people in general, and the ongoing fight against racism, ignorance and social injustice.
No word yet as to whether ESPN will react to his comments. We will keep you updated.