ESPN Host Suspended Over Billboard Mocking LeBron

Le Batard took aim at NBA star for leaving Miami Heat and rejoining Cleveland Cavaliers

ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard was suspended for two days following a public jab at Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. 

The sportswriter and radio host drew ire from his superiors after buying space on an Akron, Ohio, billboard for an image of two Miami Heat championship rings alongside the words, “You're welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami.” Le Batard carried out the stunt after The Plain Dealer—Cleveland’s largest newspaper—rejected a similar full-page print ad.

As tweeted Wednesday by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, ESPN suspended Le Batard after taking exception to the stunt. Le Batard, who referred to his dig at the NBA player as “fun anarchy,” returned to the air Monday.

James, who played with the Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010, returned to the team last month after four years and back-to-back championships with the Heat. Le Batard said the billboard was intended to be a lighthearted dig at Ohio residents and their returning star athlete, who supposedly hasn’t issued any thanks to the Miami team’s fans.

Le Batard is one of several ESPN hosts who have recently caused controversy. Late last month, First Take co-host Stephen A. Smith received a week’s suspension after suggesting that women might “provoke” spousal abuse. And last week, ESPN-LA Radio’s Max Kellerman was suspended after admitting on air to an incident of domestic abuse from several years back. The SportsNation host is set to resume his duties Thursday.