Simmons Weighs In On Le Batard’s Standoff With ESPN
“I just think he’s not one of those guys that’s like ‘I’m not saying anything,’ especially with you have an election coming next year. I just don’t see him backing off is, I guess, my bigger point.”
Bill Simmons knows a thing or two about challenging ESPN management, and on this week’s episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast he predicts that Dan Le Batard’s current showdown with management in Bristol “doesn’t play out that well” for Le Batard’s future with the company.
Le Batard made waves late last week when he cited a tweet from FS1’s Nick Wright calling out the racism of a crowd in Greenville, NC at a rally for President Trump. Le Batard agreed with Wright’s take and called ESPN’s policy of not discussing politics unless it is directly related to sports “a weak-ass shield.”
While he was never officially suspended, Dan Le Batard did miss the first hour of Friday’s show. He also missed all of Monday’s show after reportedly “going back and forth” with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro over the weekend.
“Once you go down this road, now anytime [Dan Le Batard] says anything it’s going to be blog posts, news stories, all that stuff,” Simmons said. “I just think he’s not one of those guys that’s like ‘I’m not saying anything,’ especially with you have an election coming next year. I just don’t see him backing off is, I guess, my bigger point.”
Simmons is no stranger to ESPN discipline. Most famously, he received a three week suspension in 2014 when he served as editor of Grantland. He called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar on his podcast and then dared his bosses to suspend him.
There has been much speculation about Le Batard’s standing with ESPN brass since Thursday, but it should be pointed out that while Pitaro did acknowledge that he reiterated to his staff the company’s policy about discussing politics, he has not made any comment about a change in Le Batard’s job status with Disney.
Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”
Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.
He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.
Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.
“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”
What Implications Would TikTok Ban Have on Sports Media & Business?
“Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support.”
If TikTok is banned in the United States, a very realistic possibility, the ad market around sports and sports media stands to take a significant hit. Front Office Sports took a look at the companies that used the social video platform to advertise to sports audiences in 2022 and 2023.
Among the advertisers making major investments in TikTok was Degree, whose March Madness advertising campaign includes an ad that is exclusive to TikTok and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the Super Bowl, T-Mobile supplemented its FOX ad buy with a TikTok campaign, while State Farm chose to skip the network broadcast of the game and spend all of its advertising with the digital platform.
It’s not only advertisers. Leagues and networks factor TikTok prominently into reaching younger audiences. The WWE, FIFA and the NBA all saw significant growth in their audiences on the app last year. On top of that, FOX and ESPN both have taken advertising money from TikTok in the past for postseason baseball and college football broadcasts respectively.
Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support. The Biden administration and other lawmakers have voiced concern about the security threat the Chinese government’s involvement with the app poses to Americans and their personal data.
The appeal of TikTok for networks and advertisers is easy to see. Between 2021 and 2022, no social media platform showed more growth for engagement from sports fans. TikTok’s sports audience jumped 65% in that timeframe. Facebook saw 22% growth and for Twitter, it was just 8%.
Dan Le Batard Addresses Response To Stephen A. Smith Criticism
“Oo-wee I seem to have gotten people mad.”
Last week Dan Le Batard went back and forth with his former ESPN cohort Stephen A. Smith, with Le Batard not pulling any punches with the First Take host.
“I hate what you two have done to sports television,” Le Batard said to Stephen A., mentioning Skip Bayless, Smith’s former co-host. Dan said on his South Beach Sessions podcast that specifically his issue is with the constant need to make the arguing over a point the primary entertainment focus.
Stephen A. responded by questioning how he and Bayless are responsible for the rise of people in the space without a journalism background when both he and Skip are trained journalists and spent years working newspaper beats before they got their breaks on television.
“You can say that all you want to; I would say, who the hell are you?!” Smith said. “To sit up there and say me and him. What about you? Where the hell were you? Living under a rock? Teaching at Miami U? You were part of it too! You ain’t innocent!”
Le Batard faced some blowback for his stance on Twitter, and on Friday Dan posted a quick video response on his Instagram.
“Oo-wee I seem to have gotten people mad,” Le Batard said. “And the reaction was hostile and swift on Elon Musk’s kind, gentle community app.”
“People say that I am a fat, ugly, hypocritical, jealous, jerk, asshole, moron, idiot,” he added. “And I’d just like to defend myself against that…I’m not jealous.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.