ESPN, at the command of its president, has avoided political discussions since former host Jemele Hill got into a public conflict with President Donald Trump in 2017. After the "send her back" chants at Wednesday night's Trump campaign rally, however, one network host could no longer hold his silence.
Dan Le Batard, who hosts a daily show on ESPN Radio, called out both Trump for the chant and his own network for its avoidance of political issues.
"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 … There's a racial division in this country that's being instigated by the president," Le Batard said. "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 the 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 criticized the president for using racial division as a way to boost his reelection efforts.
"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," Le Batard said. "Black people, brown people, women - that's who we're going after now. Black people, brown people, women - let's do it, as the platform."
Trump disavowed the "send her back" chant on Thursday, saying he disagreed with it and maintaining that he moved on with his speech quickly in order to prevent it from continuing."