ESPN Suspends Dan Le Batard From TV, Radio For Buying LeBron Billboards
ESPN has suspended Dan Le Batard from both his television and radio shows until Monday because it is "upset that his radio show purchased several billboards that will be displayed for a month in the Cleveland/Akron area coinciding with" LeBron James’ return, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. The billboards "show the two NBA championship rings that James won with the Heat and say, 'You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami.'" The message was a "jab at the fact James did not thank Heat fans" after he announced his return to the Cavaliers. ESPN said in a statement, "His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance." Jackson notes Le Batard's radio show "initially considered buying full-page ads with the same message, but newspapers in Cleveland and Akron rejected the ads before they officially were submitted." Maureen Lesourd, the GM of WAXY-FM, the flagship for Le Batard's national ESPN Radio show, had "no role in the suspension but declined to say if it was unwarranted." Jackson notes WAXY has a "deal to renew" its ESPN Radio affiliation, which is set to expire next month, and it "wants to do nothing to jeopardize that" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/8).