ESPN declined to comment.
Le Batard went on his radio show July 18 the morning after supporters of President Trump yelled, “Send her back! Send her back!” in reference to Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). On his radio show, Le Batard said the rally “felt un-American” and the chants were “deeply offensive.”
He also criticized ESPN explicitly for a policy that bars its reporters and personalities from talking about politics without a sports hook.
“We here at ESPN don’t have the stomach for the fight,” Le Batard said on the air. “We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.”
Le Batard continued hosting his morning radio show and afternoon TV show on most days since the commentary. He missed his Monday radio show, which an ESPN official described as his choice. He was absent again Thursday morning.
Since Pitaro was appointed president in March 2018, he has stated publicly that ESPN’s viewers do not want the network to cover political issues that do not intersect with sports. The network says its research finds that fans do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.