After Lonzo Ball made a lackluster debut in Los Angeles on Thursday night, ESPN was more than happy to give his outspoken father LaVar plenty of airtime. Following the Clippers 108-92 trashing of the Lakers, ESPN turned to Neil Everett as he watched LaVar and Stephen A. Smith shout at each other.
Amid the nonsense, LaVar did say one thing to Stephen A. that rang true: “Even when you lose, I win.”
ESPN’s talent hasn’t exactly been shy about criticizing the amount of airtime “The Worldwide Leader” has given LaVar. ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas called him “a misogynistic buffoon that is not worthy of our time and attention,” while SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt told Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, “I don’t see why he will be newsworthy.”
On Friday, Pardon the Interruption host Michael Wilbon became the latest ESPN personality to criticize “The Worldwide Leader” for giving airtime to LaVar.
“That’s editorial malpractice. That shouldn’t happen,” Wilbon told his longtime co-host Tony Kornheiser on Friday, adding that as a black father, it offends him that LaVar’s self-aggrandizing behavior actually makes things more difficult for his son.
“There’s now people in the league who hate your kid because you behave like a self-absorbed jerk. And networks like ours help him,” an angry Wilbon seethed. “I find it all loathsome. It’s worse than reality TV.”
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 on YouTube. The clip of Wilbon? Less than 25,000.
Jemele Hill says she deserved to be suspended
After two weeks of just about every sports media figure weighing in on Jemele Hill’s suspension, TMZ caught up with the SC6 host at the Los Angeles International Airport where she broke her silence about being sidelined by ESPN.
“Me and ESPN are fine,” Hill said. “We’re in a good place and I’m happy to be back at the network.”
Hill, who was suspended for two weeks after suggesting fans should consider boycotting Cowboys’ sponsors, is scheduled to rejoin co-host Michael Smith (who has been hosting the show solo in her absence) on Monday.
Despite the suspension, Hill said there were never any Twitter restrictions placed upon her (aside from ESPN’s social media guidelines) and felt she deserved to be suspended by the network.
“So, here’s how this works: It doesn’t really matter what I think,” Hill said. “ESPN acted what they felt was right, and, you know, I don’t have any argument or quibble with that. I would tell people, absolutely, after my Donald Trump tweets, I deserved that suspension. I deserved it. Like, absolutely. I violated the policy; I deserved that suspension.”
Prior to her comments about the Cowboys, which were in response to owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench any player who “disrespects the flag” during the national anthem, Hill called President Trump a “white supremacist” and “an unfit, bigoted, incompetent moron” on Twitter.
Hill’s comments didn’t go unnoticed by the president, who tweeted last week, “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”
With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have "tanked," in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
“The only thing I’ll ever apologize for is, I put ESPN in a bad spot,” Hill said, adding that she regrets putting her show and the people she works with in a bad position. But she remained defiant about her personal views, adding, “I’ll never take back what I said.”
Tim Tebow’s motivational speech didn’t work
Tim Tebow may not be a great baseball player, but he’d be a fantastic motivational speaker.
On Saturday, the former Eagles quarterback and current SEC Network analyst offered a pep talk for the ages aimed at the Tennessee Volunteers prior to Saturday’s game against top ranked Alabama.
Here’s a full transcript of Tebow’s speech:
You step up and let one thing define you. That’s your effort. That’s how much you care because in this game Alabama’s better than you.
But let me tell you one thing they better not be better at than you and that’s called heart. That’s called courage. That’s how much you care. Everyone wants to talk about discipline and hard work and all of these things. I don’t believe in them because when you care about something, that’s what makes you get up and work. That’s what makes you have discipline. In this game, don’t flinch. Don’t be scared of Alabama. Don’t be scared of T-Town. Don’t be scared of their titles.
You walk into that stadium and you play with your brothers. You fight. Guess what? That’ll will be enough. That’s gonna be enough. Cause right now, I believe in being humble and understanding where your blessings come from. But in this game, it’s about time you have some pride.
You take some pride in the team. Peerless Pride is not coming back. Peyton Manning is not coming back. T. Martin ain’t coming back. You need to have someone step up and have leadership to get the job done. It’s about time you had pride in Tennessee. Let’s go.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 21, 2017
Tebow’s message certainly resonated on social media, where a post on ESPN’s official Twitter account has been retweeted more than 45,000 times and liked by over 100,000 people.
Unfortunately, it didn’t appear to matter much. Alabama crushed Tennessee and their struggling coach Butch Jones, 45-7. It turns out heart isn’t always a match for talent.