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ESPNers are calling Dan Le Batard racist for his Magic Johnson criticism, and it’s glorious 02.24.17 at 9:25 am ET
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The Lakers hired Magic Johnson this week to be their president of basketball operations. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Lakers hired Magic Johnson this week to be their president of basketball operations. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN host Dan Le Batard has flippantly accused others of racism throughout his career. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s glorious.

On his radio show Thursday, Le Batard lambasted the Lakers for naming Magic Johnson president of basketball operations. In his opinion, Johnson doesn’t have the credentials for the job.

“What you’ve got here, though, is a testament to the power of fame. And a testament to the power of a modicum of charm, because Magic Johnson is charming,” Le Batard said. “But Magic Johnson was given a late-night television show because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 11 shows. Magic Johnson was given a head coaching job of the Lakers because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 16 games. Magic Johnson, not interesting as a broadcaster, given broadcasting opportunity after broadcasting opportunity, because he’s famous and charming.

“And now, he gets to run the entire Lakers organization because he’s famous and charming. But he wasn’t good at any of those jobs I just mentioned, and he got all of those jobs, bypassing a whole lot of people who are more qualified, because he’s famous and charming.”

That’s a reasonable position for Le Batard to hold, considering Johnson doesn’t have any significant basketball front office experience. He’s a part of the Dodgers’ ownership group in MLB, but doesn’t appear to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the club.

Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, however, has a different view. He defended the Lakers’ decision to hire Magic Johnson, and condemned Le Batard for disparaging the NBA great.

“I can’t tolerate this dude! I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson because his facts are completely wrong!” he said. “He got a talk show coming out of the NBA because they were trying a late-night talk show with African-Americans, and he’s a guy in the city of LA who everyone liked. The talk show business is hard! How many people fail at it?”

Later in the segment, Keyshawn Johnson suggested Le Batard’s comments were racially motivated.

“I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one,” he said. “To me, he saying because he’s a black dude, that’s the way I look at it.”

Keyshawn Johnson’s co-host, Jorge Sedano, who’s worked with Le Batard in Miami, tried to defend the ex-newspaper scribe. But then one of Magic Johnson’s former teammates, Mychal Thompson, called in and pushed back against Sedano.

“Sedano, you’re pissing me off. You gotta stop defending this Le Batard,” the ex-Lakers center said. “How dare he question Magic’s credentials and qualifications, when this man is a basketball genius. What does he want? … That ticked me off when I heard that, I’m with you, Key, that was some kind of veiled racist comment there.”

Le Batard didn’t only take a beating on Keyshawn Johnson’s radio show. “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon sent out a series of tweets Thursday, accusing Le Batard of misrepresenting Magic Johnson’s post-career resume.

Since officially retiring from the NBA in 1996, Magic Johnson has taken part in a number of business ventures. His entertainment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, has a net worth of $700 million. Magic Johnson did coach the Lakers at the end of the 1993-94 season, finishing with a 5-11 record.

Read More: Dan Le Batard, ESPN, Keyshawn Johnson, Magic Johnson
ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron James billboard 08.08.14 at 9:42 am ET
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ESPN suspended Dan Le Batard for two days after the television and radio host paid for billboards in Akron, Ohio, that read, “You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami” and featured the two championship rings LeBron James won with the Heat.

The billboards appeared to be mocking James’ first-person essay in Sports Illustrated announcing his return to the Cavaliers. James’ letter thanked many people, but not Miami fans, which inspired a response from Le Batard.

ESPN released a statement about the suspension Thursday.

“Dan LeBatard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday,” the statement read. “His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’€™s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”

Read More: Dan Le Batard, LeBron James,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: ESPN’s Dan Le Batard says losing Hall of Fame vote ‘was worth it’ for protest 01.10.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Nets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Radford at High Point, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Wright State at Valparaiso, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Air Force at Army, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: Alabama-Huntsville at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Colorado College at North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. (CBSSN)


Dan Le Batard on Thursday was suspended from the Baseball Writers Association of America for one year and had his Hall of Fame voting privileges permanently rescinded after he gave his vote to Deadspin, which had its readers vote on the selections. Le Batard insists that he doesn’t regret his actions.

“It was worth it,” said Le Batard, a longtime columnist for the Miami Herald who now the show “Highly Questionable” on ESPN2. “I knew this would be the consequence. Hopefully, change is a consequence, too.”

In explaining his reasons for giving up his vote, Le Batard said he is bothered by “all the moralizing we do in sports” and specifically referred to the lack of support for players linked to steroids, including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. However, the BBWAA called him out for his methods.

“The BBWAA board of directors has decided to remove Dan Le Batard’€™s membership for one year for transferring his Hall of Fame ballot to an entity that has not earned voting status,” a statement from the organization read. “The punishment is allowed under the organization’€™s constitution. In addition, Le Batard will not be allowed to vote on Hall of Fame candidates from this point on. The BBWAA regards Hall of Fame voting as the ultimate privilege, and any abuse of that privilege is unacceptable.”

— The arbitration ruling for Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez regarding his 211-game suspension is expected soon — as early as Friday — and an ESPN report indicates the player has discussed the possibility of accepting a reduced ban.

The story indicates Rodriguez is likely to head to court to challenge any suspension longer than 100 games. But that is expected to cost Rodriguez at least $10 million, and there’s no guarantee he would win. If he accepts a 100-game suspension, Rodriguez would lose $15.4 million of his $25 million salary for 2014.

“All of this has been presented to Alex, and he is weighing his options,” a source told ESPN. “In certain situations it may not make much sense to continue to fight.”

Added the source: “It’s not just a matter of money. It’s also about the mental anguish of going through this and not knowing if or when you’re going to play again. Alex might decide to take his medicine and move on.”

However, a Rodriguez representative insisted there will be no compromise.

Said A-Rod spokesman Ron Berkowitz: “We have not asked to negotiate, have not thought about negotiating, and the facts, in any of these stories that state this, are inaccurate.”

— Jets tight end Kellen Winslow was charged by police in East Hanover, N.J., with possession of synthetic marijuana and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Although the incident occurred Nov. 19 — shortly after he ended a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs — a criminal complaint was not signed until Dec. 30, and Winslow appeared in court Wednesday.

Winslow, a former standout with the Browns who briefly was a member of the Patriots last season, finished the season with 31 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. The 30-year-old becomes a free agent in March and is not expected to return to the Jets.

“We are aware of the situation,” the Jets said in a statement. “This is a pending legal matter and we will have no comment.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 10, 1996, which Celtic hit a 3-pointer in his 89th consecutive game, an NBA record?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Dan Le Batard, Kellen Winslow,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks reportedly fed up with J.R. Smith after latest transgression 01.09.14 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Capitals at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Heat at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Memphis at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: South Florida at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: DePaul at Butler, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: George Mason at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Auburn at Mississippi, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: George Washington at La Salle, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Marquette at Xavier, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Michigan at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Charlotte at UTEP, 9:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: California at Oregon, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Portland, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)


— On the same day J.R. Smith received a $50,000 fine from the NBA for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct” — trying to untie the sneakers of opposing players during free throws — a report emerged that the Knicks are trying to trade the troubled guard.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who has tried to keep Smith’s behavior in check, showed his frustration with the player after the latest incident.

“I’m not happy about this, because he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake, and it’s not right,” Woodson said in a radio interview with ESPN New York’s Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco. “It’s just got to stop. I keep saying this every time something pops up, but it’s got to stop.”

Woodson added that Smith has been “unprofessional about how he’s approached this whole thing. Something got to be done. It has to stop. I’ll address it [Thursday] when I see him, and then we’ll go from there.”

Smith will be difficult to trade as he is in the first year of a three-year, $18 million deal and his numbers are down (11.3 ppg, 32.3 percent shooting) from last season, when he was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 18.1 ppg. The 28-year-old had offseason knee surgery and, according to his coach, still deals with soreness in his left knee. He also was suspended for the first five games of the regular season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

Smith posted an apology on Twitter.


Deadspin revealed Wednesday that the media member who gave up his Hall of Fame ballot to the website was Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald and ESPN. The site allowed its readers to vote on the candidates and had Le Batard check off the names of the 10 receiving the most votes. The list included Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine, who all got in, as well as Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio (who missed by two votes), Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling.

Le Batard — who was a backup after the original media member had to pull out for unexplained reasons — explained why he allowed his vote to be used by writing, “I feel like my vote has gotten pretty worthless in the avalanche of sanctimony that has swallowed it.”

Added Le Batard: “I’m not sure what kind of trouble this is going to bring me. I imagine I’ll probably have my vote stripped. But I don’t want to be a part of the present climate without reform anyway. Given that climate, doing THIS has more impact than my next 20 years of votes as sanctimony bars the HOF door on the steroid guys. Because, in a climate without reform, my next 20 years of votes will be counted but not actually heard. At least this gets it heard, for better or for worse.”

— The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected a request from a company trying to sell pork rinds called “Redskins Hog Rinds” because it deemed the nickname to be “derogatory slang term.”

This could be a bad sign for supporters of the Washington Redskins name, as the Patent and Trademark Office has been deliberating since early last year whether to revoke the federal trademark protection for the football team following a challenge from a group of Native Americans.

“The USPTO ruling sends a powerful message to Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL that in the name of basic decency and respect they should immediately stop spending millions of dollars to promote the R-word,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said. “This is a huge potential precedent-setter rooted in the painfully self-evident truth that the Change the Mascot campaign has been reiterating: The R-word is a dictionary defined slur designed to demean and dehumanize an entire group of people. The federal government was right to declare that taxpayers cannot and should not subsidize the promotion of that slur through lucrative patent protections.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 9, 1993, who resigned after two seasons as Patriots chief executive officer, clearing the way for the new staff led by coach Bill Parcells?

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Read More: Dan Le Batard, Dan Snyder, Deadspin, J.R. Smith