Dan Le Batard, a thoughtful and popular Miami-based sportswriter, has been suspended from his radio gig after putting up various tongue-in-cheek billboards around Cleveland, taking a shot at LeBron James on behalf of Heat fans. Per the Miami Herald:
“Dan will be off the air for two days, returning Monday,” 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.”
The billboards show the two NBA championship rings James won with the Heat and read, “You’re Welcome, LeBron, Love, Miami.” That was a jab at the fact James did not thank Heat fans in his essay in Sports Illustrated or at any time subsequently. [...] The 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.
Reacting to the suspension, Le Batard texted Herald colleague Greg Cote: “I guess ESPN didn’t find it all quite as funny as I did.” Le Batard explained Wednesday that taking out the billboards is “all meant in fun — which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine. Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement… It’s just fun anarchy.”
That escalated quickly… -Mike Ryan pic.twitter.com/TkIoOouFak
— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) August 7, 2014