I swear, there must be something in the water in Florida that enables the sports talk radio hosts employed in the state to go off the deep end.
We once again take our ears to South Beach, where ESPN personality Dan Le Batard is heard in afternoon drive on WAXY/”790 and 104.3 The Ticket”. Currently, he also hosts a vehicle on ESPN2 (one that his own radio show competes with at 3:30 PM) titled “Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable.”
Well, last Monday, as the University of Miami prepare for March Madness, and the Heat’s winning streak just keeps on going, the questionable one decided to talk about the Steubenville, OH rape case.
It sounded as if Le Batard might have been making excuses for the accused football players in that case. That’s according to Ed Berliner, a Miami-based veteran media producer who has posted four audio clips from Le Batard’s show discussing the topic.
In one clip, Le Batard argued that the players’ lives would be affected by the case, and not just the victim. Also, in a mockingly tone, he thinks that every single iota of compassion should not go to the victim. He also encouraged listeners to put “your son” in the position of the victim in this case, “and tell me what the penalty should be.”
But perhaps the lowest point came when Le Batard claimed that rape is “probably a lot more common” when there’s teenagers and binge drinking involved.
“I think it’s a lot more common. I think all of this stuff is a lot more common than you think it is.”
Dan Le Batard, rape expert.
And that’s without getting into the part involving “a bunch of sheep.”
Hear the “highly questionable” Dan Le Batard Steubenville audio here. Transcripts of these clips follow. Of course, you’ll hear (and read) Le Batard make the point that the kids responsible for this crime “deserve punishment for it” – and that certainly should not be lost in all of this.
DAN LE BATARD: What I’m not absolute about is limits on my compassion. That’s what I’m not absolute about. I’ve only got so much compassion in this story, and it all has to go to one person. I’ve got a ceiling on what my compassion is, and it all has to go here; I can’t put one percentage point of it here, I can’t put a decimal point, a fraction of it over here; it all – all of it can only go here, all here, here, over here, some of this, over here, this, over here… That’s it, though. And then, it cuts off. It’s like a water spout. You turn off the fountain, and there’s no more compassion for anybody else; in fact, I don’t think – I think I’ve reached my maximum level of compassion for the day, on any thing, here, and I’m gonna give it all to her, and I can’t give it to anything or anyone else today. I’m all out.
JON WEINER: Maxed out?
LE BATARD: Reached my ceiling.
WEINER: I mean, in defense of my friend, Dan Le Batard, um, he thinks rape is really, really bad.
LE BATARD: That’s right! I’m taking that controversial stance right now, on the radio. How’s that for a straw man? And anybody who says otherwise, anybody who says ‘rape is good,’ you’re wrong, you’re a fool!
LE BATARD: We’re all in agreement, okay?
LE BATARD: We are all in agreement that rape is bad. I don’t know what people are hearing here, but we were having a conversation about how young people think a little bit differently than the older generation when it comes to sex, and I was talking specifically about how people were dressed at, ultra, 15, 16-year-old girls. And no, they don’t deserve to be raped, no matter how they’re dressed. And no, they’re not asking for it, no matter how they’re dressed. We’re all in agreement that rape is bad. The place that we don’t agree is, I don’t think that there are limits on compassion. I get all of you in the audience who are yelling at me now, screaming about, ‘No sympathy! No sympathy!’ You’re more against rape than I am, okay. Whatever. I don’t think there are limits on compassion, and to me, it wasn’t just a 16-year-old girl, to me, who deserves your compassion today. Though maybe she deserves a great deal more of it than these kids, the boys who did the wrong thing, but I also feel bad for them, and I’m not going to apologize for that, and I’m not going to throw up my hands and say, ‘Behead them! Behead them!’ That’s okay, no sympathy. If you want to do that, that’s fine, I get it. But there wasn’t just one life altered that day, and those kids made bad, criminal, dumb 16-year-old, 17-year-old decisions, and they deserve punishment for it.
WEINER: I think that’s where, yeah, and, and, and —
LE BATARD: I’m not saying they don’t! I haven’t said one time that they don’t!
WEINER: But I think that’s where you run into trouble, where they were still making – drunk as they were, they were still making decisions, and she wasn’t. She wasn’t making any decisions. I mean, that’s —
LE BATARD: Correct… And I don’t know – many of you are writing in, and I don’t know what to do with this part of it, that in Ohio, like, I – man oh man, degrees of rape? Degrees of rape… The laws in Ohio is, digits = rape. And so, that’s what was in play here… For those of you who don’t know what it is that we’re talking about, and I’m not comfortable talking with, about these parts of it, um, and it’s awful, okay, so I don’t want to minimize. Rape is rape, whether it’s digits or other parts of your body, this woman was not – this was not consensual, and so, it was rape. But it’s also something that I can see dumb 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, doing in drunken moments without knowing, and without their parents knowing, that that comes with a one- and two-year penalty that is, that is gonna end up really affecting your life.
LE BATARD: One of your friends is having sex with a, with a girl, both of them are drunk, and all of his friends are, ten of them, perched outside the window, watching and taking pictures.
WEINER: Yeah, I’m certain that’s happened, Dan.
LE BATARD: No, but common or not common? What do you think? Because you keep, you keep moving the line on me here, with, like, ‘I’m sure it happens.’ Um, I think it’s a lot more common. I think all of this stuff is a lot more common than you, than you think it is.
LE BATARD: Instead of making it your daughter, which we can all feel that side of it. You make it your daughter? Absolutely. Give me the, give me the kid’s head, and I will cut it off myself.
WEINER: But make it your 16-year-old son –
LE BATARD: Make it your son!
WEINER: ‘Dad, we were out, we were hammered, we were drinking, we did some of the dumbest things, I can’t even explain to you what we did, and…’ Yeah, make it your son.
LE BATARD: I mean, the details are embarrassing. And what they did, what they did – let me put it to you this way, okay? You tell me, if I say to you, let’s, let’s get rid of the… very little that you know about this Steubenville case… And I simply say to you, in a fictitious story involving faceless, faceless people. Hey, Stugotz, listen to what happened: Bunch of 16- and 17-year-old athletes, got drunk, girl got drunk, girl passed out, vomited, and, bunch of guys were taking pictures of her and doing things with their hands, and, and with their mouths, taking pictures of it, and passing it, passing it around.
LE BATARD: But… (laughter) Do you think it happens very much? Do you think, like, do you think it’s, it’s an unbelievably weird behavior, given the binge drinking going on in our country among young people, and given the behavior of young men?
WEINER: I mean, I don’t want to paint a picture that it’s normal behavior, but… does it happen elsewhere? Yeah, I’m guessing it has happened elsewhere… Yes. And now, this has happened elsewhere, and they haven’t been caught, or it would have been a national story, yes.
LE BATARD: And so, the next step on that –
WEINER: Doesn’t justify.
LE BATARD: Understood, and I would say to you that it’s probably a little more common than you think, like, I, as I tell you the story, my guess is that you’d be sort of – my guess would be that most people would be like, ‘Yeah, that probably happens a good amount.’ That, that, that’s not – like, this isn’t, you’re not hearing a story about somebody, you know, having sex with, with a bunch of sheep. Like, my guess is that that kind of thing happens a good amount, where there are young people, and when there’s binge drinking. My guess is that that’s not –
WEINER: With young men making, making poor decisions.
LE BATARD: Poor criminal decisions, yes. And so, now, in the middle of that, make it your son, and tell me what the penalty should be.