ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for two days after he admits trolling LeBron James on a billboard

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Dan Le Batard, a Miami-based journalist and radio host for ESPN, got a little too funny for his own good. After getting publicly, albeit politely, told off by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for allegedly attempting to purchase a full-page ad (likely written in comic sans) to troll LeBron James, Le Batard decided to make an even bigger joke — literally. He bought a billboard then bragged about it on the radio.

Funny? The answer will depend on who you ask, but one thing’s for certain, the prank didn’t make Le Batard’s employer smile. ESPN sent a statement to The Washington Post today, explaining his two-day suspension:

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 responded the best way he knows how — with a joke. “I guess ESPN didn’t find it all quite as funny as I did,” he texted to Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote, who’s been following Le Batard’s activities closely.

Le Batard is the second ESPN-affiliated host to be slapped with a punishment for overemphasizing his personal opinions in the past couple of weeks. Late last month, Stephen A. Smith was suspended from his television talk show “First Take” for a week after he repeatedly made comments about domestic violence that called out women for “provoking” bad behavior in their significant others. Smith has since been reinstated at “First Take”, but as of this afternoon, he is no longer with ESPN 98.1 radio. Instead,  USA Today confirms, Smith will be moving over to join controversial radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo‘s more outlandish SiriusXM channel. The New York Daily News reports ESPN will still be producing the show, however, which will air weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. “Buckle Up! Because I’m coming,” Smith said in a statement.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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Marissa Payne · August 7, 2014

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