Dan Le Batard’s relationship with ESPN is an interesting one. The Miami-based radio host holds the mid-morning time slot for ESPN Radio’s national lineup, coming on after Mike & Mike, and has a simulcast on ESPNU for three hours of his show each day. Le Batard has a strong listener base and he’s one of the top radio hosts in the business, but he also has a bit of a contentious relationship with the suits at ESPN.
Le Batard isn’t a hot take specialist like Colin Cowherd or Skip Bayless, and his tendency to take the conversation away from purely sports and speak out on social issues and what some would deem political has gotten him in hot water with ESPN before. While Le Batard’s show can be more serious than other, it also tends to incorporate a lot more humor than other sports radio shows, which can also lead him into trouble with the mothership.
This was the case on Monday, when Le Batard’s feed on ESPNU went silent for a bit as he was talking about Rob Gronkowski and made a
’69’ joke. You know, the same kind of joke Gronk makes all the time, sometimes on national television while serving as a NASCAR reporter. ESPN wasn’t a big fan of this and cut Dan’s feed (video via The Big Lead).
Le Batard was informed by his producer that his feed was dumped by Bristol and was absolutely stunned that they would censor that joke, launching into a diatribe about how Gronk has more journalistic freedom than him.
“Really?” Le Batard said. “Gronk’s making those kind of jokes all the time. I got dumped in Bristol for that? Wait a minute. Does Gronk have more journalistic freedom than I do?! It’s okay for Gronk to reference the number between 68 and 70, but not me?”
It’s a funny moment, but also one that I’m sure will result in a conversation between Le Batard and ESPN’s brass about what should and should not fly on his radio show.