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Le Batard Calls Out Trump, ESPN Politics Policy

“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.”

Brandon Contes

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Dan Le Batard refused to ignore the scene at Donald Trump’s rally in North Carolina Wednesday, where the president allowed racist chants from the crowd of, “send her back,” directed at Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

During his Thursday show, Le Batard passionately disgraced Trump, while subsequently calling out his own employer, ESPN for repressing their talent from openly discussing our country’s social issues. 

“There’s a racial division in this country that’s being instigated by the president.  And 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.  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 the subject.”

Le Batard then cited the following tweet from Fox Sports 1 and SiriusXM host, Nick Wright.

“It is so right what he is saying there,” Le Batard said referring to Wright’s tweet.  “It is so wrong what the president of our country is doing, trying to go down getting reelected by dividing the masses at a time when the old white man, the old rich white man feels oppressed being attacked by minorities.  Black people, brown people, women, that’s who we’re going after now.”

“That’s what you’re seeing, and 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 its being turned into politics.  And we only talk about it around here when Steve Kerr or 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.”

Equality issues still seen today are what Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown and others fought for in the 60’s, Le Batard exclaimed.  “Jim Brown walks with a cane, he’s going to go to the grave without having seen change, he’s going to go to the grave with Colin Kaepernick still out of the league, literally blackballed because we’re taking this stuff and making it about the flag when it’s not about the flag, it’s about race.”

Le Batard continued to criticize ESPN for their ‘stick to sports’ push by ESPN president, Jimmy Pitaro, reiterating the only time they can discuss social issues is when its brought up by a sports figure first. 

“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 isantithetical to what we should be, and ifyou’re not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, you’re complicit.”

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Tom Crean Added to SiriusXM NBA Draft Coverage

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine.

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NBA Draft logo, SiriusXM logo and a photo of Tom Crean

The 78th edition of the NBA Draft will be the first to be held over two days. The first round will take place on Wednesday June 26 and will be followed by the second round on Thursday June 27. The draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SiriusXM will provide full coverage on SiriusXM NBA Radio channel 86, and they have announced Tom Crean will take part in a preview show prior to each round.

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine, on Tuesday, June 25 on Wednesday, June 26 prior to Round 1 at 4 p.m. ET, and on Thursday, June 27, prior to Round 2 at 2 p.m. ET.

Crean returned to ESPN as a college basketball analyst in December 2022 after having worked for them previously during the 2017-2018 season. Crean was fired after four seasons at Georgia, prior to his ESPN return.

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Dan Woike: ‘I Can’t Imagine’ JJ Redick and LeBron James Podcast Will Continue

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JJ Redick
Courtesy: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images

Following the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, JJ Redick has reportedly agreed to a contract to serve as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Redick, who recently broadcast the best-of-seven series for ESPN on ABC with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Lisa Salters, is reportedly in the process of compiling his coaching staff for his first season leading the Lakers. Although Redick does not have any NBA coaching experience, he played 15 seasons in the league with six teams and has been an analyst for ESPN over parts of the last four years. Outside of his work with ESPN, Redick also built his ThreeFourTwo Productions company and co-hosted The Old Man and the Three podcast.

This past March, Redick launched a new podcast with Lakers forward and four-time NBA champion LeBron James titled Mind the Game. Episodes of the show contained nuanced basketball discussions that some people feel gave Redick an inherent edge in the head coaching search. Dan Patrick recently had Dan Woike, Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, on his program, the Dan Patrick Show, and asked about the future of the podcast with James.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to continue,” Woike said. “Sad, right? We might get a season finale episode…. Who knows what’s going to happen here.”

Woike spoke about Redick’s eclectic interests that include basketball, broadcasting, golf, wine and fancy suits. Part of this transition that Woike will be watching is how Redick makes the adjustments and focuses the energy that he has. The organization, he stated, is not hiring a podcaster and believes that Redick has an aptitude and shrewdness towards basketball and is serious about the endeavor. While Redick and James have a good relationship with strong rapport, it is relatively new and something Woike perceives as critical to everything going on. Nonetheless, he does not think they can continue the show because it would be an “unnecessary distraction” to the team.

“They’re paying him to coach, they’re not paying him to podcast,” Woike said. “His divestment from his podcast empire is sort of an interesting media side-note to this to see kind of how much he steps back and kind of what happens to it because it’s been really successful for him.”

Rather than asking him another question, Patrick presented Woike with a sentence and asked him to complete it. The statement was, “If he doesn’t have the podcast with LeBron…,” and Woike proceeded to outline that the Lakers would then have more questions about his ability to coach James. Patrick then immediately followed up by asking if he still would have landed the Lakers’ head coaching job if he did not have the podcast, to which Woike replied that he believed it would still be possible. Former Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski was reportedly advising the organization throughout its head coaching search, and Redick previously played for him at the university.

Woike referenced a specific clip from the podcast in which Redick and James were discussing analytics and three-point shooting. At one point, James pushed back against the analytics by asking what would happen if a team missed 27 straight three-point shots, as the Houston Rockets did in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Redick quickly replied by asking if it had happened since, leading James to admit that he was right.

“Now how that plays in the locker room at halftime when you’re down 17 to the Charlotte Hornets and everybody’s tired, who knows,” Woike said. “That is a huge question, but I think, to be quite fair, there was going to be elements of question with that with Dan Hurley too.”

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ESPN LA 710 Announces New Fall Lineup

This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

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Logo for ESPN LA 710 and a graphic for their new fall lineup
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN LA 710

ESPN LA 710 announced more news today, introducing a new lineup which will start on Monday, September 9. This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

The new lineup will see morning drive start with Mike Greenberg’s Greeny , followed by Travis Rodgers and Allen Sliwa moving back an hour to start at 9a PT. Steve Mason and John Ireland will then air from 12p to 3p PT followed by the afternoon team of Jorge Sedano and Scott Kaplan moving to 3p-6p PT.

In addition to USC and the Kings, the station has play-by-play agreements with the Lakers, the Rams, the Angels and LAFC.

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