Dan Le Batard Dismayed With John Calipari Spin in ESPN Carwash


Dan Le Batard opened the national portion of his radio show with Jon “Stugotz” Weiner in a little bit of a salty mood. He lamented that he was unable to use clips of Ben Affleck’s tirade on Bill Simmons’s HBO show (HBO told them no), or of song and dance numbers from Roy Firestone (who looked no bueno in OJ: Made in Americawhich he’s acknowledged himself) when they’re “all over the Internet.”

This transitioned to a rant about John Calipari being all over ESPN today. Calipari was on Mike and Mike, he’s on an hour of First Take opposite Stephen A., and he’s even going to be on Le Batard’s own Highly Questionable program later. Le Batard has long been squeamish about how Division I football and basketball coaches are plutocrats on the backs of amateurism, and providing Calipari with “our entire platform” to hawk Kentucky’s wares did not sit well with him.

“This is unseemly,” Le Batard said. “This is ESPN being in on the deal. And there’s no getting around this. I can moralize and gasbag all I want, but this is ESPN in on the deal. A texter writes in, ‘Dan, any thoughts on what ESPN is doing today with Calipari? It comes off like a gross recruiting tool for Kentucky. Calling moms of former players, letting him schmooze live on the air, does ESPN have any obligation to keep clear of this type of thing?'”

“It’s simply not right to give him the entire platform to be out recruiting by himself,” Le Batard said. “It’s not the coaches coming through the carwash. It’s one super famous coach who already has a recruiting advantage using all of our platforms to go into full salesman mode. ESPN is doing something wrong today as part of this transaction, and I’m right in on it.”

Le Batard weighed the decision about whether to cancel his own interview with Calipari later, remarked that “what’s happening at ESPN with Calipari today is gross,” and noted that he blamed ESPN and not Calipari for what is happening today. Le Batard closed the segment with a prophecy that this rant could lead to himself getting disciplined by the network.