ESPN Has 'No Plans' to Feature LaVar Ball After Comment to Molly Qerim Rose

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: LaVar Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on November 07, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

ESPN is distancing itself from LaVar Ball after his inappropriate comment to Molly Qerim Rose on Monday's episode of First Take.

According to Richard Deitsch of Sportsnet, an ESPN spokesperson said, "We have no plans moving forward," with regard to featuring Ball on any of its platforms:

Richard Deitsch @richarddeitsch

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."

While interviewing Ball on Monday's episode of First Take, Qerim Rose requested they "switch gears" to a different topic, which led to Ball responding, "You can switch gears with me anytime."

Per AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today, ESPN later condemned Ball's comment, saying, "LaVar Ball's comment to Molly Qerim Rose was completely inappropriate, and we made him aware of that."

The 51-year-old Ball, who is the father of Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, has a history of making controversial comments on television—specifically toward women.

During an appearance on FS1's The Herd in 2017, Ball told Kristine Leahy to "stay in your lane" when she asked about Big Baller Brand's marketing strategy. Ball also said that BBB was geared toward "big ballers" and not women.

The patriarch of the Ball family has been back in the news since Lonzo was sent to the New Orleans Pelicans last week as part of the trade that brought Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the deal, LaVar said the Lakers would regret dealing Lonzo and that they wouldn't win another championship after doing so:

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

LaVar Ball on the Lakers trading Lonzo Ball: ‘I guarantee... it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life and they will never win another championship. Guarantee it.” https://t.co/Q1pxopsEdP

The Ball family's rise to prominence had much to do with Lonzo getting selected by L.A. with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft after starring in California during his high school career and then at UCLA collegiately.

Now that Lonzo is in one of the NBA's smallest markets in New Orleans, LaVar's presence may start to fade regardless of whether ESPN opts to utilize him moving forward.