ESPN host Dan Le Batard blasted the company on air for its apolitical stance on “send her back” chant.
For about a year now — or since Jemele Hill called Donald Trump what he really is –, ESPN has made a decided shift in its reporting and commentary away from politics. This was a directive that came from the network’s new president Jimmy Pitaro.
However, ESPN TV and radio host Dan Le Batard could not stand down any longer, as he heard the racist “send her back” chants from a Trump rally Wednesday night. Those chants at the rally held in North Carolina were regarding Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar and in response to tweets by Donald Trump about Omar and 3 other Congresswomen of color.
During Thursday’s broadcast of the “Dan Le Batard Show,” the longtime ESPN personality briefly described what happened at the rally in North Carolina before taking direct shots at the comments and how ESPN has decided not to address social issues since Hill’s exit. Putting aside ESPN’s policy to avoid political subjects, Le Batard called out the racism that he witnessed on Wednesday.
Le Batard stated:
“So, what happened last night. This felt un-American. 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.
“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 being turned into politics. And we only talk about it around here when Steve Kerr or 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.”