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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
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees CF Jacoby Ellsbury ‘can’t worry’ about reaction he’ll receive at Fenway Park 04.22.14 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESNplus; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Flyers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Pacers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Nets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Wizards at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions League, Chelsea at Atletico Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jacoby Ellsbury makes his return to Fenway Park on Tuesday as a member of the Yankees, and Johnny Damon, who was in a similar situation eight years ago, says the boos the outfielder will hear will be good for him.

“It’s going to be great for Ellsbury to go back,” Damon told the New York Post. “The fact that almost everybody will be booing will make it easier. That would be tougher on certain individuals, but the good thing about him is that he plays hard.”

Damon left Boston in 2006, apparently unwanted by Red Sox management despite helping Boston end its 86-year title drought in 2004, and signed with the Yankees. In his first game back at Fenway, he turned the boos into cheers (at least partly) when he stopped and tipped his helmet to the crowd before his first at-bat.

“I knew all the fans weren’t booing,” Damon said. “I did a lot of things there. I brought a different attitude to the clubhouse and helped with a championship. To those who were booing, the hell with them.”

Ellsbury said he hasn’t been thinking about the reaction he’ll receive, although he’s well aware of how “passionate” Red Sox fans are.

“We will see what happens when the time comes,” Ellsbury said. “You can’t think about what they are going to do. In this game you can only focus on what you can do. You can’t worry about the other stuff you can’t control. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life.”

— The Knicks began their rebuild under new team president Phil Jackson when they fired coach Mike Woodson and his assistants on Monday.

The Knicks, expected to compete for one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference this season, went 37-45 and missed the playoffs.

Jackson noted in a statement that “blame should not be put on one individual,” but added that “the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build the team for next season and beyond.”

Woodson, who finished third in NBA Coach of the Year balloting last season after New York went 54-28, ends his Knicks career with a .580 winning percentage, ranking him third in franchise history behind Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy.

TNT analyst Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson in Chicago, has been rumored to be the leading candidate.

“It’s going to be very interesting and obviously my name is being thrown around,” Kerr said Monday during his SiriusXM NBA Radio show. “I do anticipate at least being part of the conversation and we’ll see where it all goes.”

— ESPN football analyst Keyshawn Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery early Monday morning after a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters.

Johnson, 41, was released shortly after 9 a.m. after posting $20,000 bail.

An ESPN spokesman said the network was aware of the incident and was “looking into it.”

Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 1996 draft by the Jets, played for the Jets, Buccaneers, Cowboys and Panthers as part of his 11-year NFL career before retiring in 2006.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 22, 1993, which Mariners pitcher walked the first two Red Sox batters of the game but went on to pitch a no-hitter in a 7-0 victory in Seattle?

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Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Keyshawn Johnson, mike woodson, Phil Jackson