‘We’ve done a lot of research in this area, and our fans have told us that this is not why they tune into ESPN…’
Less surprisingly, that rule has been swiftly disregarded by the virtue-signaling, Disney-owned franchise’s stable of other far-left anchors, who feel their own level of Trump derangement justifies a politically-charged sermon.
Miami-based ESPN Radio personality Dan Le Batard did just that, according to Sports Illustrated, when he ranted on Thursday over President Donald Trump’s recent sparring with several socialist congresswomen who have dubbed themselves “The Squad.”
Like many in the leftist media, Le Batard—a second-generation immigrant with parents from Cuba—took umbrage with Trump’s suggestion that the Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and her freshman Democratic colleagues—who frequently criticize American values—should “go back” to the places they prefer over the U.S.
At a rally Wednesday in North Carolina, Trump supporters began chanting “Send Her Back” as Trump continued to lambast Omar.
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. https://t.co/0Mwnlaf3gE
— nick wright (@getnickwright) July 18, 2019
Using a tweet from Fox Sports contributor Nick Wright as his launchpad, Le Batard called the Trump rally “deeply offensive” before going off on his own company’s policy of not wanting to alienate a major segment of its audience.
“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 always been a place where this stuff changes,” Le Batard said.
Echoing the rest of the left-leaning media, Le Batard repeated a common trope attempting to link Trump’s comments with racism.
“It is so wrong what the president of our country is doing,” he said, “trying to go down getting re-elected by dividing the masses at a time when the old white man—the old rich white man—feels oppressed being attacked by minorites, black people, brown people, women.”
Trump defenders on the Right have nearly universally countered that the president’s criticism was about the substance of their rhetoric and policies, not their skin color.
Omar and fellow “Squad” members Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY, have received frequent criticism for their own race-baiting and controversial comments that deploy profanity and anti-Semitic tropes.
That rhetoric has drawn rebukes from both sides of the aisle, though a resolution to specifically condemn Omar’s anti-Jewish tweets was watered down in March after a revolt by the Congressional Black Caucus.
ESPN’s own woes stemmed from a series of tweets by Hill that included calling Trump a white supremacist. The network had earlier been criticized for its double-standard in allowing her inflammatory remarks to slide while punishing conservative commentators.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro addressed the “no politics” policy in a May interview with Vox, according to Sports Illustrated.
“What we don’t want is people to tune into ESPN, or people to tune into an ESPN feed on a social platform and get pure political commentary,” Pitaro said. “We don’t believe that that’s who we are. We don’t believe that that’s why people tune into ESPN.”
Pitaro said the network based many of its policy decisions on data. “We’ve done a lot of research in this area, and our fans have told us that this is not why they tune into ESPN.”