Report: ESPN plans to stop featuring LaVar Ball after inappropriate remark to Molly Qerim
Since LaVar Ball broke onto the scene as the outlandish father of then-UCLA guard Lonzo Ball three years ago, ESPN and FS1 jumped at the opportunity to give him a platform to say outrageous things.
And the reason was simple: LaVar Ball drove ratings. He drove traffic. No matter how many people complained or tweeted "who cares," many more tuned in to ESPN's programming featuring him and read ESPN's articles about him. The network sent reporter Jeff Goodman to follow the family around in Lithuania for that reason.
But ESPN is finally prepared to shut out Ball after his tasteless remark to host Molly Qeriim during Monday's airing of First Take.
According to The Athletic's Richard Deitsch, Ball will not appear on any ESPN platform going forward.
There will be no LaVar Ball on any ESPN platform heading forward — at least as of now. Asked if Ball will be used as an on-air guest, an on-the-record source for digital, or a background source for ESPN, an ESPN spokesperson said,"We have no plans moving forward."
This decision came in response to LaVar replying to Qerim's attempt to "switch gears" to another topic with, "You can switch gears with me anytime."
Lavar Ball really just made this comment to Molly Qerim on live TV. Props to Molly for the way she handled it. #FirstTakepic.twitter.com/BIP6Kwc777
In the aftermath of the comments, ESPN publicly condemned Ball's remark, and Qerim added that she was satisfied by ESPN's response.
The "at least as of now" qualification doesn't necessarily close the door on Ball reappearing on the network. But it does represent a different approach from what FS1 took following Ball's sexist 2017 remark to Kristine Leahy, which resulted in Ball's continued appearances on FS1 programming.
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