Miami Herald columnist, and ESPN radio/television host Dan LeBatard was suspended by ESPN after he trolled former Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.
The news was first reported by USA Today’s The Big Lead.
LeBatard first tried to run an ad in an Ohio newspaper telling James he’s welcome for the two rings. But the paper declined, so he put up a billboard in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio.
The billboard says “You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami” and it’s got a picture of two NBA championship rings on it. LeBatard even managed to troll Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert by putting the text at the top of the billboard in Comic Sans font.
Gilbert famously penned a letter after LeBron left Cleveland for Miami where he ripped James’ decision and said that Cleveland would win a championship before James did, all in Comic Sans font. Miami went to four straight NBA Finals, winning two, while Cleveland has been a cellar dweller until James returns this year.
An ESPN spokesman told USA Today, “His (LeBatard) recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”
The Miami Herald also reported that the suspension comes as "ESPN seems determined not to have a direct role in anything else that would embarass or anger James."
Update: 104.3 The Ticket in Miami released a statement on the incident that read in part:
"The fans were offended, so for the Ticket, it was a brilliant local promotio and meant for fun, but I have to respect stunts like this don't work for a national outlet like ESPN...We look forward to Dan's return on Monday, August 11th. I can only imagine, everyone's going to be listening." - Maureen Lesourd, GM of 104.3 the Ticket