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Dan Le Batard Goes In On President Trump, Rips ESPN's "Cowardly" No-Politics Pivot

Dan Le Batard used a portion of his Thursday show to denounce the scene at Donald Trump’s rally in North Carolina Wednesday, when the racist president stirred the racist crowd into a racist euphoria that featured chants of “send her back” directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Le Batard called the chants “un-American” and correctly described the president’s deliberate “instigation of racial division,” citing a tweet from FS1's Nick Wright:

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Le Batard’s commentary about President Trump and his supporters was very clearly and unapologetically afoul of ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro’s shameful stick-to-sports mandate. Le Batard confronted that, too, head-on and in unambiguous terms, decrying the company’s position as “cowardly” and a “weak-ass shield.” Here’s the video:

Here are the portions having to do with ESPN’s pivot away from discussing politics, which I have lovingly transcribed for you, because they rule:

“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, and then here all of a 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 these subjects.”

[...]

“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 and it’s been turned into politics—we only talk about it around here when Steve Kerr or [Gregg] 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 always been a place where this stuff changes.”

[...]

“We won’t talk about it unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram page. Then we have the power to run with it. Weak-ass shield. It is antithetical to what we should be, and if you’re not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, you’re complicit.”

It’s a great and angry and righteous monologue. By ESPN’s definition it is surely “pure politics” before you even get to the part where Le Batard all but explicitly calls Pitaro a coward and accuses him of complicity in a campaign to foment racial hostility toward black and brown people. It seems inevitable that Le Batard will now be suspended for saying true things on the air.

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