An ESPN television sports host, who is based in Miami, bought a billboard that mocked LeBron James for leaving the Miami Heat, earning a two-game suspension from the sports network.
Dan Le Batard (pictured below on the right) host of “The Dan Le Batard Show” on ESPN Radio in Miami, and a former sports columnist for the Miami Herald, took a playful swipe at LeBron James by taking out a billboard in Akronthat said “You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami,” with a picture of two championship rings. Le Batard executed the stunt in response to James’ letter in Sports Illustrated in which he announced he was returning to Cleveland but failed to thank the fans in Miami.
“It’s just fun anarchy,” Le Batard, said on the radio show recently. “All meant in fun.”
ESPN suspended Le Batard from radio and his television show “Highly Questionable” for two days, calling the light-hearted gag a “stunt.”
ESPN released a statement Thursday:
“Dan Le Batard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday. His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”
Le Batard is not shy and is far from being unfamiliar stunts that got him banished from prestigious organizations. He also famously (or infamously) sold his Baseball Hall of Fame vote to the readers of the sports website Deadspin.com earlier this year, which got him banned for life from he Baseball Writers Association of America.
ESPN executives have been busy with suspensions in the last few weeks. Stephen A. Smith was banned from the sports behemoth’s television and radio stations for a week after controversial comments involving the Ray Rice and his wife after Rice was shown on surveillance cameras carrying his unconcious then-fiancee out of an elevator in Atlantic City.