ESPN's Dan Le Batard refused to bite his tongue.
During Thursday's broadcast of the Dan Le Batard Show, the titular host went against his network and delivered an impassioned, politically charged speech that denounced our racist president and his racist supporters. Le Batard referenced a tweet by FS1's Nick Wright, who criticized the "send her back" chants heard at Donald Trump's recent North Carolina rally.
The chant was aimed at Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar—one of the four first-term Democratic congresswomen who have become known as "The Squad." The other members are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—all of whom have been quite critical of the Trump administration. On Sunday, the president suggested the four progressive politicians, who are all women of color, "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib were born in the United States. Omar is a Somali refugee who became a naturalized American citizen in 2000 at the age of 17.
Le Batard blasted the "send her back" chants toward the end of Thursday's episode. He also criticized ESPN for steering away from political discussions.
"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," said Le Batard, whose parents are exiles from Cuba. "[...] There's a racial division in this country that's being instigated by the president."
He continued: "[...] This is deeply offensive to me as somebody whose parents have made all the sacrifices to get to this country. 'Send her back,' how are you any more American than her? You're more privileged, you're whiter, you're richer, people don't know whether your money is real or not. You've had every privilege afforded to you, every privilege! And now, what you do with that power? You go after brown people and black people and minorities? And around here, we won't talk about 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."
You can check out the full episode here. Le Batard's speech begins at around the 1-hour, 36-minute mark.
In a 2018 profile in the Los Angeles Times, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro confirmed network staff were instructed to stay clear of political discussions.
"Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics," Pitaro told the Los Angeles Times. "My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused."
ESPN has not publicly responded to Le Batard's comments.