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Dan Le Batard portrayed himself as a champion of women in his defense of Mina Kimes’ contract extension with ESPN.
Specifically, Le Batard took issue with OutKick’s coverage of Kimes.
“Many times, men in this business, who you can’t tell whether they love women or hate women. But they don’t want them sometimes talking about sports,” said Le Batard.
“Because of the politics of the day, Stugotz, she gets weaponized,” Le Batard continued. People don’t want to hear from her. Outkick–good god almighty, shit stain, you have birthed an army of shit stains, man, when you go after that woman, not having any earthly idea how hard it is overcoming all the bullshit in this industry by knuckle draggers at the executive level and on social media.”
As Awful Announcing noted, Le Batard is referring to Clay Travis and me. Le Batard frequently refers to Clay as a “shit stain” and has claimed on his show that I wear the same hood as members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Per the outlet:
After news of her contract extension was first made public, Travis compared ESPN’s promotion of Kimes to the recent departure of Sage Steele, who left the company after settling a lawsuit in which she accused her then-employer of violating her free speech rights. Outkick’s Bobby Burack also criticized this deal with Kimes, and also ran a story mocking Kimes and her colleagues for “feuding” with Nick Adams, Alpha Male— an Australian-born conservative influencer who appears to now be playing an exaggerated version of himself.
Whether Le Batard’s primary issue in this instance is with Travis, Burack or Adams is ultimately irrelevant. In fact, the fact that it could be any (or all of) the three probably best illustrates Le Batard’s point regarding the difficulties that Kimes–or any woman in the sports media industry–faces in the modern political climate.
(Shout out to Nick Adams, Alpha Male.)
Le Batard did not mention what either Clay or I said about Mina Kimes’ contract. So, we will recap:
I questioned ESPN giving Kimes the title of “NFL analyst,” a role previously exclusive to former players.
Kimes is the only non-former player, male or female, to carry said title at ESPN. She now has the same role as Alex Smith, Randy Moss, and Robert Griffin III, despite never sitting in a film room or throwing and catching an NFL football.
What makes her so unique? What did she do to earn that position? Why did ESPN choose to elevate her over more proven and successful on-air pundits?
No one has ever told us. They just say that she is a woman.
I also compared how ESPN employees leaked to the media they were upset with the network’s decision to pay Pat McAfee while laying off 20 on-air employees but then celebrated Kimes’ hefty new salary of around $2 million a year.
The disparate reaction is notable when you consider that ESPN will make money from its deal with McAfee — via his TV show, YouTube channel, and podcast — whereas Kimes provides no quantifiable upside.
Kimes doesn’t host her own show. She doesn’t have an industry-leading YouTube channel. Instead, she appears as a guest on various programs.
“Sponsors don’t pay to be associated with her. She doesn’t move ratings. Viewership doesn’t spike whether she’s on air,” I wrote.
Signing McAfee at a time of mass layoffs made sense. You have to spend money to make money. Overpaying for Kimes, well above her market value, did not make quite as much sense.
Finally, I made the point that the sports media treats Kimes as if she’s off-limits to criticism. Her colleagues and media writers turn into white knights any time she receives the most modest of critiques.
The men at the network, like Ryan Clark and Dan Orlovsky, act as if she can’t handle pushback online. And given how she has previously framed herself as a victim of social media, they might be right.
Mina Kimes skipped the line, is overpaid, and benefits from identity politics. That’s what I said. And no one has been able to deny any of those facts.
Meanwhile, Clay responded to Kimes’ extension in a video by pointing out that ESPN rewarded her after she broke company policy by openly endorsing Democrat Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles.
Clay compared how ESPN suspended Sage Steele, a conservative woman, when she broke the same policy:
Le Batard never explained what Clay or I said was wrong.
Rather, he reminded his listeners that Kimes is a woman and, therefore, OutKick is a bully for covering her like we cover other men in media.
Nonetheless, we contacted him to better understand his point of view.
In our email, we asked him what proof he has that Kimes’ career was more challenging as a woman, given what her reps and bosses tell reporters:
“Do you believe being an Asian woman hurt Kimes’ chances of rising at ESPN? Because her bosses and agents around the industry frequently mention that as a positive for her career. Call them right now and ask them. I know you have their numbers.”
And why he didn’t offer the same support for Sage Steele:
“If you are a champion of women, why did you not stand up for Stage Steele? Did she not face the same ‘bullshit’ you said Kimes faced as a woman in sports? And unlike Kimes, Sage received no public support from her co-workers.”
We next questioned how he can portray himself as an advocate of women while employing Howard Bryant, who was arrested for choking and assaulting his wife in public, in front of his six-year-old son.
“Do you think you employing Howard Bryant, who was arrested for choking and beating his wife, hurts your credibility on the topic of women? Does Meadowlark Media not care if people beat their wives? For example, you called on the UFC to punish Dana White for slapping his wife. Yet you pay someone who, according to police, choked his.”
Le Batard did not respond.
If he does, and we hope he does, we will update this story with his response.
Until then, we are left to wonder how Mina Kimes, a 38-year-old sportswriter, who now makes $2 million a year, in a role she didn’t earn, is a victim of the “knuckle draggers at the executive level.”
Dan Le Batard cares about women. But only women who share his politics. The rest can be choked out, for all he cares.