‘Blindsided’ Dan Le Batard paying salary of popular colleague ESPN laid off

Dan Le Batard didn’t just blast his employer for their cold approach to layoffs. He found a way to fight back against ESPN.

Le Batard announced Wednesday he is rehiring laid-off producer Chris Cote in the vacated role of personal assistant and paying his salary plus a raise out of pocket to remain on the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.”

“We were blindsided by him being let go. It’s the greatest disrespect of my professional career that I got no notice, no collaboration,” Le Batard said, via the New York Times. “I would’ve loved to have worked something out if somebody had told me, to protect him.”

Cote, 33, is the son of Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote, a former colleague of Le Batard’s at the newspaper. He has been part of the show since 2012 and a full-time ESPN employee since 2015. He frequently appears on air as a member of the “Shipping Container.”

“We, as a group, are just something that somebody can lop off a head, it is just a number on a page, it is not anything human,” Le Batard said. “Corporations don’t tend to be human, and if somebody had talked to me, I would’ve pleaded on the idea of humanity.”

ESPN announced 300 layoffs last week.

“This time at the company has been horrible,” Le Batard said. “So many people have been affected. We [The Dan Le Batard Show] have been far less affected than anyone else, so I want it made clear, no matter how hurt I am by this – and I have been wounded by this – I very much understand this is the product of a very dangerous time and brutal time for the company. The part that makes it so hurtful to me is that you blindsided me. It is not that you did it because I understand it is a sprawling corporation, a giant beast. We are an accounting error.”

The show’s simulcast moved from ESPNews to ESPN+ earlier this week, which Le Batard joked will cause ESPN executives not to even be aware of what he said for six-to-eight weeks.

“It seems like the moves they make, make it feel like they are trying to shrink us,” Le Batard said. “But it continues to grow.”

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