Wilbon, Beadle Criticize ESPN For Net's Continued Coverage Of LaVar Ball
Two of ESPN's highest-profile personalities are criticizing the net for its continued coverage of LaVar Ball. The net's Neil Everett and Stephen A. Smith interviewed Ball following Thursday's Clippers-Lakers game, the regular-season debut of Lakers G Lonzo Ball. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of LaVar Ball, "All of the networks, including this one, who put microphones in front of him for minutes at a time, that's editorial malpractice and that shouldn't happen. We don't need to know what LaVar Ball says anymore. ... Networks like ours help him. I find it all loathsome. It's worse than reality TV" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/20). Meanwhile, ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "When that clown goes on our network after the game and gets his own postgame press conference, it is 100% about (Lonzo's) father. His father can't get out of his own way. Let the kid have his career. Go away. Your shoes are garbage, your logo is garbage, you're garbage. Let the kid play!" She added of LaVar: "He needs to stay in his lane. He's not a part of this!" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 10/20). SI.com's Jimmy Traina wrote it was "just months ago when several big-named ESPN staffers mocked the network for always using LaVar for ratings." However, ESPN is going to "shove LaVar down everyone's throats more, not less, now that Lonzo is in the NBA playing for one of the marquee teams" (SI.com, 10/20). In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe wrote ESPN's talent "hasn't exactly been shy about criticizing the amount of airtime" the net has given to LaVar Ball. Tornoe: "One clue why ESPN gives LaVar Ball so much airtime: The YouTube clip of him yelling nonsense at Stephen A. Smith nabbed over 1 million views" (PHILLY.com, 10/22).