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ESPN Releases Statement Calling LaVar Ball's Comments to Female Host 'Completely Inappropriate'

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ESPN is unhappy with the way LaVar Ball conducted himself in a recent interview on the network.

During an appearance Monday on ESPN’s “First Take” with hosts Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim Rose, the father of NBA guard Lonzo Ball sparked a bit of controversy with a comment directed toward Rose.

“LaVar, can I switch gears with you because I have a question here,” Rose asked LaVar Ball, who was on the show to talk about multiple topics pertaining to the NBA.

Ball replied: “You can switch gears with me anytime.”

“Oh Lord,” Smith could then be heard saying in exasperation.

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Rose brushed off the remark, saying, “Let’s stay focused here.”

She then went on to ask her question.

But Rose appear to reference Ball’s comment near the end of that day’s show.

“If anyone’s calling HR today, it’s me,” she quipped.

ESPN condemned Ball’s remark shortly thereafter.

“LaVar Ball’s comment to Molly Qerim Rose was completely inappropriate,” the network said in a statement, according to TMZ. “We made him aware of that.”

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But Denise White, a representative for Ball, argued that ESPN was mistaken and that his comment was not “sexual in nature.”

“[LaVar] was asked if he wanted to switch gears,” White said in a statement.

“In his mind switching gears was ‘changing the subject anytime’ and he said, ‘yes, you can switch gears with me anytime.’ At NO time was that intended or meant to be sexual in nature.”

Was LaVar Ball's remark inappropriate?

As the Sporting News noted, Ball has gotten in trouble before for comments directed toward a female media personality.

Ball erupted at FS1’s Kristine Leahy in 2017 after she asked how many pairs of “Big Baller Brand” sneakers customers had bought.

When the brand’s ZO2 sneakers first came out, they cost $495 per pair, according to Bleacher Report.

Unhappy with the question, Ball told Leahy, “Stay in yo lane,” and essentially ignored her question.

In the midst of the resulting media controversy, Big Baller Brand started selling T-shirts with that phrase imprinted on them.

In regard to the latest controversy, it’s worth noting that while ESPN might not like Ball’s rhetoric now, they are one of the outlets that has elevated his platform and allowed him to reach a wider audience of people.

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Tom is a freelance writer from Massachusetts' South Shore. He covers sports, culture and politics and has written for The Washington Examiner, LifeZette and other outlets.
Tom is a freelance writer from Massachusetts' South Shore. He covers sports, culture and politics and has written for The Washington Examiner, LifeZette and other outlets.
Location
Massachusetts
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports, culture, politics




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