ESPN Radio host apologizes for poll asking if injury to pro-national anthem NBA player was funny

NBA restarts season in ‘the bubble’ amid coronavirus concerns

ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” apologized Monday for asking listeners if it was “funny” that Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL after being the first player to stand during the national anthem once the NBA restarted.

Isaac famously stood as teammates and opponents kneeled during the national anthem last week and on Saturday suffered the devastating injury. The injury will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season and potentially into next season, too.

“Is it funny that the guy who refused to kneel immediately blew out his knee?” the ESPN radio show posted as a now-deleted poll on Twitter.


“We apologize for this poll question. I said on the front and back end of the on-air conversation that I didn’t think it was funny. Regardless of the context, we missed the mark. We took the tweet down when we realized our mistake in how we posed the question to the audience. -Dan,” the account later tweeted.

ESPN radio’s Dan Le Batard apologized Monday for asking listeners if it was “funny” that <a data-cke-saved-href="" href="" target="_blank">Orlando Magic</a> forward <a data-cke-saved-href="" href="" target="_blank">Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL</a> after being the first player to stand during the national anthem after the NBA restarted.  (Charles King/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ESPN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” show namesake Dan Le Batard has caused problems for ESPN by spouting liberal political opinions in the past, while the rest of the show’s cast are often lighthearted and avoid controversial topics.

It’s a running joke on the program that Le Batard makes his colleagues uncomfortable when he gets serious about issues such as race. A comical “Mystery Crate of Content” segment often interrupts Le Batard when he is about to discuss something that ESPN executives wouldn’t be happy about.


Last year, ESPN reminded staffers that on-air talent should avoid stories considered “pure politics” after Le Batard slammed President Trump along with "cowardly" ESPN for not allowing employees to speak out.

Le Batard, whose parents are exiles from Cuba, called a Trump rally "deeply offensive" because the crowd targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, with chants of “send her back.”

ESPN allows its personalities to discuss politics when they cross with sports, such as players skipping White House visits and athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Le Batard attempted to get the network to soften its rule and remained at ESPN after meeting with executives about the situation.

Meanwhile, Isaac suffered the tear in his left knee – the same knee in which he suffered a devastating injury in January. That one was supposed to be a season-ender, however, the coronavirus pandemic paused the NBA and it gave him more time to recover for the restarted season.

Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac (1) stands as others kneel before the start of an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

“I believe that Black lives matter,” Isaac told reporters last week after he decided to stand for the anthem, prior to his injury. “A lot went into my decision, and part of it is, I thought that kneeling or wearing the Black Lives Matter T-shirt doesn't go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives. So I felt like, just me personally … I do believe that Black lives matter, but I just felt like it was a decision that I had to make, and I didn't feel like putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives. I believe that for myself, my life has been supported by Gospel, Jesus Christ, and everyone is made in the image of God and that we all forge through God's glory.


“Each and every one of us do things that we shouldn't do and say things that we shouldn't say. We hate and dislike things that we shouldn't hate and dislike, and sometimes it gets to a point where we point fingers, whose evil is worse, and sometimes it comes down to whose evil is most visible. So I felt like I wanted to take a stand on, we all make mistakes, but I think that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that there's grace for us, and that Jesus came and died for our sins and that if we all come to an understanding of that and that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get kept all of the things in our world that our messed up, jacked up.

“I think when you look around, racism isn't the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world, and I think coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues as us as a society, I feel like the answer to that is Gospel.”

Fox News' Ryan Gaydos and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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