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ESPN screws up big time with Kevin Ward Jr. funeral tweet

ESPN sent an extremely unfortunate tweet from their NASCAR account on Thursday afternoon. Funeral services for the late Kevin Ward Jr. were held on Thursday in upstate New York, where more than 700 mourners flooded South Lewis Senior High School to pay their respects. Here is the tweet NASCAR on ESPN sent and quickly deleted, courtesy of Deadspin:

ESPN-Kevin-Ward-Jr-tweet

We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but that is a pretty drastic one. A typo with the name would be bad enough given the sensitive nature of the subject, but the photo of Stewart made it really brutal. Realizing that plenty of people had seen the tweet, ESPN later issued an apology:

Again, everyone makes mistakes. Some are just more cringe-worthy than others.

Max Kellerman suspended by ESPN for domestic violence story

Max Kellerman ESPN

Max Kellerman was suspended by ESPN for his on-air discussion about domestic violence that took place on ESPN Radio LA earlier this week. ESPN would not confirm nor deny the suspension, but the New York Daily News says the network issued a statement saying Kellerman will return to his regular jobs on Thursday.

Kellerman co-hosts ESPN’s “SportsNation” on TV and “Max & Marcellus” on ESPNLA Radio and shared a story Monday about a domestic violence incident he had with his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife. He shared the story during a cross-talk segment with “Mason & Ireland” prior to his show starting.

The Daily News described Kellerman’s comments and explains why ESPN was not happy with him:

Kellerman said they both had to much too drink. He said when he tried getting things under control his then girlfriend slapped him. Kellerman said he slapped her back. He was quick to tell listeners that the woman is now is his wife and they have been happily married for 20 years.

Industry sources said while the content of his story was disturbing, the suspension was all about Kellerman, who once worked for ESPN New York Radio, not adhering to ESPN brass’ warning concerning the Rice topic being a highly sensitive one. “My understanding is that it was part of a larger conversation ESPN had with all its on-air people,” a radio industry source said. “Kellerman obviously didn’t pay attention.”

Kellerman’s comments came not long after ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for his comments on the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Clearly the network is highly sensitive to the issue and does not want any employee giving off the appearance that they condone domestic violence in any way, shape or form.

ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron James billboard

Dan-Le-Batard-LeBron-billboard

Dan Le Batard has never been one to weigh the potential consequences of his actions before going through with them, which is one of the reasons he is more entertaining than a lot of other sports radio personalities. It’s also the reason he was given a long weekend by his employer this week.

On Thursday, ESPN released a statement announcing that Le Batard has been suspended for two days because of the funny billboard he paid for in Akron mocking LeBron James.

“Dan Le Batard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday,” the statement read. “His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”

I think everyone knows Le Batard’s publicity stunt does not reflect the views of ESPN, considering it was a joke that Le Batard and his father attached their names to. Le Batard even said earlier this week that it was all in good fun.

“It’s just fun anarchy. All meant in fun — which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine,” he told Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. “Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement. Please don’t tell anyone there is no actual movement.”

We know how protective of its image the World Wide Leader can be. But remember, Le Batard is the same guy who sacrificed his MLB Hall of Fame vote for life just to make a point. A two-day suspension won’t change him in any way.

Photo via @JeremyinAkron

Vin Scully will return to announce Dodgers games in 2015

Vin ScullyThe Dodgers announced some great news during the middle of their game against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night: Vin Scully will return to call games in 2015.

“It is very difficult to say goodbye,” said Scully in a statement. “God willing, I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.”

The announcement was also done in a cool manner. First Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu made the announcement in Korean, a Yasiel Puig Spanish recording followed, and then Justin Turner announced it in English.

Scully, who will be 87 in November, will be in his 66th season. That’s just an astounding amount. Many people are retired by the time they’re 65. Scully will be broadcasting Dodgers games for the 66th year!

Stephen A. Smith suspended one week by ESPN

Stephen A SmithStephen A. Smith has been suspended from his duties at ESPN for one week. The network announced the punishment in a brief statement on Tuesday.

“ESPN announced today that Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week,” the statement read. “He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

ESPN released a statement on Monday after Smith apologized on First Take and said they believe he “recognizes his mistakes,” leading to speculation that he would not be disciplined for his comments about domestic abuse. It is unclear if the plan all along was to suspend Smith or if pressure built to the point where ESPN had to make a move.

A separate report over the weekend indicated that Smith is leaving ESPN Radio for Sirius Mad Dog Radio. The report has not been confirmed.

Stephen A. Smith apologizes for domestic violence comments (Video)

Stephen A. SmithStephen A. Smith opened Monday’s edition of ESPN’s First Take by apologizing for the comments he made last Friday about domestic violence and how women can help prevent it. Smith maintained that it was not his intention to blame domestic assault victims in any way but admitted that the remarks were “the most egregious error of my career.”

ESPN later issued a statement saying that Smith’s comments in no way reflect the views of the World Wide Leader. It does not appear that Stephen A. will be disciplined in any way.

“We will continue to have constructive dialogue on this important topic,” ESPN’s statement said. “Stephen’s comments last Friday do not reflect our company’s point of view. As his apology demonstrates, he recognizes his mistakes and has a deeper appreciation of our company values.”

A report over the weekend indicated that Smith is leaving ESPN Radio New York for Sirius Mad Dog Radio. As LB mentioned, the timing of the report was likely an attempt to steer steer the conversation about Smith away from his mistake.

Stephen A. Smith leaving ESPN Radio for Sirius Mad Dog Radio

Stephen A. SmithStephen A. Smith needed something to help get his domestic violence comments out of the news cycle, and the report about his career move is helping to change the conversation.

According to the New York Daily News, Smith is leaving ESPN Radio New York for Sirius Mad Dog Radio. Smith currently co-hosts a daily show with Ryan Ruocco, but he would be working solo on his new show. His time slot of 1 p.m.-3 p.m. would remain the same.

Reporter Bob Raismann says Smith is leaving ESPN for Sirius despite recently saying on his show that he had too much on his plate with TV for more radio work. Smith also is a co-host of “First Take” on ESPN2 (so I hear — I never watch that crap).

Also see: Stephen A. Smith addresses controversial domestic violence comments (Video)