- The Miami Heat are beefing with popular ESPN personality, Papi Le Batard.
- Le Batard is not happy with Dwyane Wade over how he left the Miami Heat, and refers to him and LeBron James as “The Snake Brothers.”
- The Heat asked Papi to stop ripping Wade, but he made it clear that he won’t stop no matter how much free ice cream they give him.
The best “beef” in sports right now involves the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade, and 74-year-old ESPN personality Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard
Papi is the uber-popular co-host of ESPN’s “Highly Questionable.” He is also the father of Dan Le Batard, the former Miami Herald columnist who also hosts “Highly Questionable” as well as ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.”
During a recent segment on the radio show, Dan Le Batard explained that the Miami Heat had expressed some concerns about Papi’s unabashed criticism of Dwyane Wade.
Since LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Wade left the Heat after contract negotiations turned ugly and broke down, Papi has often referred to the two star players on “Highly Questionable” as “The Snake Brothers.” Hand gestures and sounds meant to simulate snakes often accompany the characterization.
According to Dan Le Batard, this is not going over well with the Heat now that Wade has returned to Miami, as he explained with this entertaining story.
“My father has just been, he will not get off of ripping Dwyane and LeBron. He won’t move off of it. And the Heat give him a press credential that he has not earned. So they give him season tickets. He’s got his run of the arena. He’s doing nothing but eating all of their free ice cream. Just wandering around, eating their free ice cream, using their free seats … [His criticism is] not in any way fair or objective. He keeps going on [“Highly Questionable”], and with his hand, he keeps doing a snake gesture and making the snake go out and hiss and bite, and he calls LeBron and Dwyane ‘The Snake Brothers’ … And the Heat have asked [me], ‘What’s up with your dad? What’s up?’ And I’m like, ‘Guys, I can’t control him. He’s not listening to me.”
Le Batard told a “high-ranking member of the Heat” – presumably senior director of sports media relations Rob Wilson, for reasons that will become obvious in a bit – during the Heat’s recent Family Festival that he needed to talk to Papi himself.
“So, at Family Fest, I told a high-ranking member of the Heat, ‘There he is, right over there,'” Le Batard said. “‘You tell him. It ain’t going to work with me. I can’t tell him anything. He has his opinions. He doesn’t listen to me on anything. He’s just going to keep doing whatever the hell he wants to do.'”
The Heat official then spoke with Papi. Le Batard explained that he doesn’t know what is said, saying: “I don’t ask. I just see the conversation take place.”
Later in the show, Le Batard called his father to ask him what happened.
“Rob said to me that I should be nicer to Wade,” Papi Le Batard said. “I said, ‘Well, that’s fine.’ He doesn’t need me to be a fan of the Heat. ‘You’ve got plenty of fans here. I just didn’t like the way he treated the Heat during the negotiations, and when he left, that’s all.'”
The conversation then continued with Le Batard asking his father if he planned to stop ripping Wade.
Dan Le Batard: But you’re not going to change your behaviour at all?
Papi Le Batard: No, why should I?
Dan Le Batard: I don’t know. Because you like the Heat. They give you free stuff. Because you’re a Miami guy. Because you’re not objective. You’re not a journalist.
Papi Le Batard: That’s OK. I don’t plan to change my position on Wade. I mean, why should I change my position with Wade? He put [Pat] Riley in a bad position. He put the Heat in a bad position. He put the Arison family in a bad position. Fans, they have a short memory. I mean, most fans in Miami don’t give a s—.
In case there was any doubt, Papi has not changed his ways, as shown in a story that exemplifies his authentic personality, just one of the many reasons fans adore him.
“And then, the next time we’re on television, in a story that doesn’t have anything to do with the Miami Heat or anything, he just starts ripping Wade again,” Le Batard said. “He’ll take every story back to LeBron and Wade being snakes!”