ESPN’s Dan Le Batard is back in the news.
But this time it’s not for something he said. It’s for calling out a fellow ESPN talking head for his own controversial statement.
Finebaum calls Miami ‘third world program’
During Tuesday’s episode of ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” Le Batard called on ESPN and SEC Network commentator Paul Finebaum to explain himself for calling Miami football a “third-world program.”
Finebaum made the comment on his radio show Monday when discussing news of the Florida band director being attacked after Saturday’s Florida-Miami game.
“I did hear about it,” Finebaum said. “I don’t want to incite the crowd here. But when it comes to Miami, nothing surprises me. It’s a third world program if you ask me.”
Le Batard: Explain yourself
Le Batard, a child of Cuban immigrants, Miami resident and UM graduate who proudly represents his home in all aspects of his sports media empire, demanded an explanation from Finebaum for what he described as “coded dog-whistle language.”
“So what did you mean by 'third world program,'“ Paul? “Can you clarify that for us, please? We are not in the business of demanding apologies. We are unlikely to demand an apology, unless your clarification does not suit us, and then we will rally all the brown people in Miami and demand that you talk about our banana republic more respectfully than that.”
No joking matter
Le Batard made the demand in the trademark irreverent tone of his show, eschewing the risk of being taken too seriously.
The show has a joking relationship with Finebaum, using a piggy-bank model of his head as a “Paul Fine bucket” to collect fines for various minor transgressions committed by show personalities.
Producer Billy Gil — another proud Miamian — calls into Finebaum’s show as a caricature of an outrageous Miami fan named Pipo.
But the message was clear. This was not a joking matter for Le Batard, who holds Miami and its immigrant culture near and dear to his heart.
Finebaum addressed the subject on his show Tuesday, taking a conciliatory tone.
Apology to Miami fans and University of Miami pic.twitter.com/nvTIhcI9tE— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) August 27, 2019
“In a conversation with a caller, I said some incredibly unfortunate things,” Finebaum said. “This is where sometimes talk-show hosts try to equivocate, they try to explain, they try to clarify. I’m not gonna do that today, because once you say something it’s done. You can’t take it back. I should know that. I’m a professional, I’ve been doing this a very long time.
“What I said here yesterday was very hurtful to a number of people. For that, I sincerely apologize all Miami fans and the University of Miami. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t.”
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