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Dan Le Batard: ‘I Couldn’t Do The Job ESPN Hired Me For Anymore’

“We left amicably and I don’t have hard feelings toward ESPN. They helped make us bigger.”

Ricky Keeler

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Leaving ESPN has to come with an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. Even if a star analyst or host is walking straight into a new job, there is still no way to know what is going to be next. That has to hold true for both Dan Le Batard and Cari Champion. 

On the latest episode of the Naked with Cari Champion podcast, Champion asks Le Batard about how he has felt since he and ESPN parted ways earlier this year. He noted that it wasn’t easy to walk away from the validation working from ESPN made him feel.

“That place is hard to leave because it is a destination and I’ve been single all my life so I had 30 years of savings as a single man and I had plenty of journalism bona fides and I had opportunities and it was still scary to leave.

“For where it is, all of us wanted to arrive with our vanities, with our insecurities because they would make you madder, they would give you the bona fides, they would give you the reach of television and those four letters behind your name. It sort of masked whatever it is you felt fraudulent. They knighted people.”

Le Batard didn’t have bad things to say about ESPN. He just felt like he could no longer do the job he was hired to.

“I was hired to be a fire-starter. I was hired to talk about some of the difficult stuff and the company changed and the country changed. What didn’t change is the reason I was hired and what didn’t change is that I was going to be my most authentic voice and self. We left amicably and I don’t have hard feelings toward ESPN. They helped make us bigger. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for as long as it was a mutually beneficial relationship.” 

One of the things that Le Batard enjoyed doing at ESPN was getting the chance to work with his father, but he revealed that Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard didn’t want his television career to last as long as it did. 

“The daily grind of it was hard for him to come in. He is well and my father is enjoying his retirement. My father was threatening to quit if they did not pay him better. He did not think they would actually pay him better. It wasn’t a principle, he just wanted to stop doing the show because he was tired.”

As for how the Le Batard and Friends podcast is doing now, he noted that there are many responsibilities now that he never had to worry about at ESPN and there are times he just wants to be silly.

“I loved just showing up talking to a microphone and seeing that direct deposit. I was always fooling around. I was somebody doing a show with my father. I was doing stuff that was silly and didn’t have any of these real responsibilities making sure our employees have healthcare and talking to accountants and attorneys…I don’t want to do the stuff that’s conquering and ambitious, I just want to giggle snorts with my friends and I did that for a long time at ESPN.”

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Big Cat: Listening to ESPN Wisconsin After Packers Playoff Loss ‘Highlight of My NFL Season’

“For three hours, I sat in my car. I arrived home –it’s a 20-minute drive — I arrived home, and I sat for three hours listening to callers be like ‘blow up Lambeau!’, ‘get 12 (Rodgers) outta here!’, ‘we need to build a dome, this team isn’t built for the outside’, and that was the highlight of my NFL season. And I have no problem saying that.”

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During a recent interview with Barstool Sports, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a poignant question for noted Chicago Bears fan Dan “Big Cat” Katz that he then used to slam the Packers quarterback while also expressing his enjoyment for Green Bay fans.

“Is it hard, for you as a Bears fan, that some of your greatest moments are cheering against me when the Bears aren’t playing?”, the Packers quarterback half-jokingly asked.

“Very good question,” Katz responded. “No, it’s actually great, because what I’ve told everyone is — I’m very realistic about the Bears — ‘not a great franchise, (the Bears) just don’t do the right things’ for the most part. Every year I look forward to the playoffs and the game that you’re going to lose. I’ve told this story on air, but, when you guys lost to San Francisco this year we were watching the game in New Jersey and I drove back to Brooklyn — brag — and I listened to (Mark) Tauscher. For three hours, I sat in my car. I arrived home –it’s a 20-minute drive — I arrived home, and I sat for three hours listening to callers be like ‘blow up Lambeau!’, ‘get 12 (Rodgers) outta here!’, ‘we need to build a dome, this team isn’t built for the outside’, and that was the highlight of my NFL season. And I have no problem saying that.”

Rodgers laughed at Big Cat as he delivered the message, seemingly getting genuine joy out of the conversation.

“I know I’m a loser,” Katz continued. “That’s the best part. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’m a loser, so yes, watching you lose in the playoffs is…that’s my Super Bowl. And I’ve won a lot of Super Bowls if you do it that way. More than you.”

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Michael Silver Joins San Francisco Chronicle

“I’m ecstatic to join forces with some of my favorite journalists and be part of a publication I’ve been devouring for decades — in the greatest region on Earth,” Silver told The Chronicle.

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Veteran NFL reporter Michael Silver is joining The San Francisco Chronicle as their newest NFL columnist.

Silver will continue his work with The Volume, Bally Sports, and Backstage Media in addition to adding a column with the Chronicle.

“I’m ecstatic to join forces with some of my favorite journalists and be part of a publication I’ve been devouring for decades — in the greatest region on Earth,” Silver told The Chronicle. “It will be a thrill to write columns alongside Scott Ostler, a living legend, and my amazingly talented friend Ann Killion, who I’ve dreamed of working with since we were competing on the 49ers beat in the early ’90s. … As a native San Franciscan, this feels like home.

Silver has previously written for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, GQ, NFL Network, and Yahoo! Sports, among others. He’s also authored books on Jerry Rice, Kurt Warner, and Dennis Rodman.

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Skip Bayless Tries to Win Debate Rounds ‘Like Muhammad Ali’

“I must admit I have been known upon rare occasion to try to win a debate the way Ali won rounds with a flurry at the end trying to get the last word also going through the stop or wrap sign.”

Ricky Keeler

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Skip Bayless

When people watch debate shows, they sometimes don’t want the debate to end. However, bills have to get paid and commercials have to be shown. However, when is the right time for a debate show to air a commercial? On the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show, Skip was asked in an email by a listener about when he and Shannon Sharpe know to go to a debate on UNDISPUTED on FS1. Bayless said the show has more room to roam in the first two hours, but eventually, he gets the signal from his line producer.

“We loosely plan on 22-23 minutes in what we call our A block. We block out 25-ish minutes for our B block, which is the only block in the show that has two topics in it.”

“Our line producer in the control room, Nick, who is in our ears. He tries to sense along the trail when we are winding down or when we are trying to push the clock too far. His first cue to us in our ears, he tries to avoid speaking when we are speaking, the first cue is ‘start to wrap’. Then, a minute or so later, he says ‘wrap’. If we continue to not wrap, maybe we get a much stronger ‘wrap’.”

However, it might not be easy for Bayless and Sharpe to end the debate, especially if they both want to be the one who wins the argument. So, sometimes, they can easily go past the hard wrap sign that is given.

“Sometimes the guy sitting across from me at the debate desk gets all worked up and barrels right through that stop sign. I must admit I have been known upon rare occasion to try to win a debate the way Ali won rounds with a flurry at the end trying to get the last word also going through the stop or wrap sign,” said Bayless.

If there is one thing that Bayless is proud of, it’s the fact that UNDISPUTED has never gone past the allotted time, which allows The HERD with Colin Cowherd to begin on schedule.

“I must tell you not in 6 years have we ever not finished a show right on time. Not once have we pushed Colin over the cliff as he begins his show. That is just not acceptable.” 

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