ESPN reasserts policy on political talk after attack

ESPN reminded employees of its policy to not talk politics after talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized President Trump and his recent racist comments and ESPN itself on the air this week.

For ESPN, the episode raises comparisons to what happened following anti-Trump tweets by former anchor Jemele Hill nearly two years ago. Following that case, and criticism among some conservatives about left-leaning remarks on ESPN’s air, network president Jimmy Pitaro decreed that its employees should avoid political talk unless they’re reporting on issues raised by sports figures.

Le Batard spoke in the wake of the president’s rally in North Carolina, where Trump renewed his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, prompting a chant from his audience of “send her back” directed at U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Le Batard said he found the attacks on Omar to be un-American and offensive, and that it was wrong of Trump to seek re-election by dividing people.

“We here at ESPN don’t have the stomach for the fight,” Le Batard said. “We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.”

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LPGA’s Clanton, Suwannapura win

Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura ran away with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., shooting an 11-under-par 59 in best-ball play for a six-stroke victory, finishing at 27-under 253. Clanton earned spots the next two weeks in the Evian Championship and Women’s British Open.

• Jim Herman had two eagles in a 10-under 62 to maintain a one-stroke lead at 24-under 192 in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky. Kelly Kraft was second after a 61.

NASCAR: Christopher Bell moved into a tie for the Xfinity Series victory lead with five, leading 186 of the 200 laps in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finishing more than four seconds ahead of Cole Custer, a Ford driver who also has five wins this season.

Horse racing: Maximum Security won the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., surviving a stewards inquiry. The win vaulted Maximum Security to the top of the 3-year-old thoroughbred division. The Haskell capped a long day that included a 4½-hour delay triggered by intense heat and the safety concerns for the horses and riders. Six races were canceled.

WNBA: Brittney Griner had 17 points and eight rebounds, DeWanna Bonner added 14 points and the visiting Phoenix Mercury beat the Dallas Wings 70-66. Leilani Mitchell added 13 points and hit three free throws with 19.9 seconds left to give the Mercury a 67-63 lead. … Rookie Marine Johannes scored 17 points to lead the host New York Liberty to an 83-78 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. Former Stanford standout Nneka Ogwumike had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead Los Angeles.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/ESPN-reasserts-policy-on-political-talk-after-14111457.php.

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