Dan Le Batard is fed up with his employer ESPN. Or at least, he's fed up with the way they've allowed Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari to use his TV appearances on ESPN on Thursday for "recruiting" purposes.
With Thursday being NBA Draft Day, which has become synonymous with multiple young Kentucky stars being selected in the lottery every year, Calipari is filling the Worldwide Leader's programming schedule. He has appeared on Mike and Mike with Mike Greenberg and First Take with Stephen A. Smith so far, and he's scheduled to appear on Le Batard's show Highly Questionable as well. That appearance may end up being canceled, though, after what Le Batard said early Thursday morning.
During Le Batard's radio show, a texter wrote in and asked his thoughts on Calipari's multiple TV appearances. "Dan, any thoughts on what ESPN is doing today with Calipari?" the listener asked. "It comes off like a gross recruiting tool for Kentucky. Calling moms of former players, letting him schmooze live on the air, does ESPN have any obligation to keep clear of this type of thing?"
As he's known to do, Le Batard responded to the texter with a very honest answer that included him ripping ESPN for giving Coach Cal as much freedom as they have on Thursday. In his mind, ESPN shouldn't allow Calipari to gain a "recruiting advantage" over other college coaches by giving him so much air time.
“This is unseemly,” Le Batard said. “This is ESPN being in on the deal. And there’s no getting around this. I can moralize and gasbag all I want, but this is ESPN in on the deal...It’s not the coaches coming through the carwash. It’s one super famous coach who already has a recruiting advantage using all of our platforms to go into full salesman mode. ESPN is doing something wrong today as part of this transaction, and I’m right in on it."
Calipari is arguably the best salesman in college sports, and there's no question he's only helping his recruiting chances by bouncing from show to show on ESPN. Many young basketball players already think, "If I go to Kentucky, I'll be drafted in the lottery," and this will only further that perception.
But even if he's right with what he said, Le Batard acknowledged he will probably be punished for speaking his mind towards the end of his rant, and many people joked about his outburst on Twitter.
Calipari has four former Kentucky stars projected to be drafted on Thursday night: Jamal Murray, who will likely go in the top four; Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis, fringe lottery picks; and Alex Poythress, who should hear his name called late in the second round.
Stay tuned to see if Le Batard ultimately faces a suspension for what he said live on the air.