Despite all the yelling, pandering, and overly passionate diatribes we’re presented with daily in sports media, rarely do any of them come from a genuine place. That’s not to say there isn’t any truth in these monologues, but for the most part, they are usually for effect. Former ESPN and Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard has been in the sports media industry since the early 1990s. So, he’s seen a lot go down in sports media, good, bad, and downright shameful. On a recent episode of his show, Le Batard voiced his opinion on FOX and FS1, going all in with former convicted felon and morning host Craig Carton.
“As it relates to our sorry sad sack, an awful industry that employs people – who are largely interchangeable – the idea that FOX would give a convicted felon a promotion when that opportunity would never go in my history doing this to somebody who isn’t white is such an indictment of everything around me that I find it deeply offensive about our industry.”
What Le Batard explains is nothing new in this or any other industry in America. Some don’t like what he said and feel he’s using race as an “excuse,” but Le Batard isn’t wrong. Put a black, brown, or any other color talent in the same situation Carton found himself in, and FOX isn’t nearly as willing to push all their chips to the middle of the table on their behalf.
“It’s just not something that would happen in many other places,” Le Batard said. “And it’s not something certainly that would happen when somebody was a convicted felon and not a white person. It’s just not anything that would have any precedent in this business.”
None of this sounded like a personal attack on Carton, more of a state of the industry from a guy who’s seen it all. Le Batard shares the same sentiments as many sports media talents of color around the industry. Not that everyone shouldn’t behave accordingly, that goes without saying. But if you’re anything other than a white male in this industry, you must be extra careful. That is what Le Batard is reacting to, not Carton personally.
Some won’t agree with this, but you can almost guarantee they’ll never face the same challenges as the people in this industry whom Le Batard is speaking for. Jim Trotter, formerly of ESPN, is an excellent example of how when you’re a person of color in the industry, you’re frequently told to stay in your place.
Within a couple months of Trotter questioning NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the lack of black senior management in the NFL newsroom, the Howard University alumni was unceremoniously let go by the league. Goodell’s answer to Trotter’s questioning was nothing more than blame deflection as the commish responded, “I’m not in charge of the newsroom.” Maybe the timing of Trotter and NFL Network parting ways was a “coincidence,” but you’d be hard-pressed to even find many white reporters who don’t work for outlets like “Outkick” who buy that nonsense.
This isn’t about attacking Carton. It’s about a Cuban man who’s been in the industry for over 30 years, becoming fed up with how sports media operates and isn’t afraid to speak about it.