So far Ball is refusing to apologize for what he said and therefore, the network has barred him from any future appearances on any of its platforms until he does.
The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch quotes an ESPN spokesperson who told him that the network has “no plans moving forward” of ever having Ball as a guest on any of their programs.
The whole issue boils down to what is being described as a sexist comment by Ball to Qerim in response to what she asked him as he was speaking to Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman about the Lakers trading his son (Lonzo Ball) to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
Here’s what went down. Qerim said to Ball: “LaVar, can I switch gears with you because I have a question here.”
Ball’s quick come back was: “You can switch gears with me anytime.”
At that point, Qerim paused for a moment, laughed, then moved on to her next question. She returned to the comment at the end of the show.
“If anyone’s calling HR today it’s me,” Qerim said.
This is where we and and it seems, a lot of other folks don’t agree with with ESPN. Like Ball’s representative, Denise White, it’s hard to see how Ball’s comment could automatically be interpreted as sexual, per se.
“LaVar Ball’s comment to Molly Qerim Rose was completely inappropriate,” ESPN said in a statement to TMZ. “We made him aware of that.”
It comes as no surprise to us that social media users were largely supportive of Ball, saying Qerim opened the door for him to crack his joke at her expense.
Qerim, who is married to ESPN sports analyst Jalen Rose, said she was glad that “ESPN had my back.”
“ESPN was really supportive,” Qerim told TMZ on Tuesday. “All the executives had my back. Much appreciated.”