Don’t Absolve Colin Cowherd of the LaVar Ball-Kristine Leahy Conflict
LaVar’s “stay in your lane” comment to Leahy was rude at best and sexist at worst. Nobody is talking about the fact that Cowherd enabled it by implying the same thing about Gisele Bundchen earlier the same show.
The spectacle that is LaVar Ball reached its pinnacle yesterday. The father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, made an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s “The Herd” and butted heads with co-host Kristine Leahy.
After a discussion of the NBA draft lottery and Lonzo’s future, host Colin Cowherd transitioned the conversation to the topic of the Big Baller Brand shoes, which LaVar Ball had priced at $495 per pair. Cowherd asked LaVar if he’s sold any yet, and LaVar responded with a reticent “yeah, I’ve sold a good amount, to me. Like I said, there’s different amounts.” Co-host Kristine Leahy then chimed in with the direct and valid question of “how many?”
After a brief pause, LaVar Ball replied to Leahy. “Stay in your lane”, he said.
Colin Cowherd not only made similar comments earlier in the show that LaVar played off of, they were arguably worse.
After playing a clip of Gisele Bundchen on CBS This Morning where she mentions her husband, Tom Brady’s (previously-unreported) concussions, Cowherd rhetorically asks:
“Oh, he has concussions all the time? So she’s a doctor? Well wait a minute, how can she be a doctor? She’s promoting her book on climate change. So she’s also a scientist? Wait a minute, she’s a scientist and she’s a doctor. Oh okay, I just want to keep track of all these things she’s an expert [in].”
Cowherd then continues to elaborate:
“Take the gender out of it. If somebody is a superstar running a company, let them run their business. My wife — I love my wife, she’s super smart, does most things better than me — doesn’t talk about broadcasting. She lets me take care of this stuff.”
A: Why can’t supermodel Gisele Bundchen also be a doctor and a scientist?
B: As Kristine Leahy pointed out and argued, is it so hard to believe that Gisele knows about Tom’s concussions because he…told her? That is the logical leap, not that Gisele diagnosed the concussions herself.
C: Try to think of a better way to summarize Cowherd’s comments than “stay in your lane.”
The feedback loop between Ball and Cowherd enabled Ball to lash out at Leahy.
It’s clear that LaVar’s inflection changes when he says “your”, which makes it reasonable to assume he’s alluding to some previous conversation about staying in one’s lane. I only listened to/watched half of the two-hour show, but it’s clear he was alluding to Cowherd’s aforementioned comments about “Doctor Gisele”, as Cowherd mockingly called her. LaVar was not on the show during that segment, but it’s reasonable to assume he was somewhere backstage watching, because his emphasis of “your” in his “stay in your lane” comment to Leahy would make zero sense, otherwise.
This is why Colin Cowherd cannot be absolved:
A: His comments regarding Gisele created the preconditions that made LaVar Ball’s comments acceptable.
B: Colin clearly chuckles when LaVar told Kristine to “stay in your lane.”
C: Despite his flimsy explanation that he didn’t “swoop in” to save Kristine, it’s still his show. His reasoning that kicking LaVar off the show would be implying Kristine cannot defend herself and therefore be “patronizing”, is a classic straw-man logical fallacy because he could’ve easily contained the situation without making Kristine a damsel in distress.
Allocating responsibility to Colin Cowherd is not absolving LaVar Ball.
At the end of the day, regardless of what Colin said or did, LaVar Ball is his a grown man. His comments, off-handed threat, and physical dismissiveness were rude and disrespectful at best and sexist at worst, nevermind the fact that Leahy was in her lane of asking a valid question as a reporter. As frequent collaborator, and controversial figure himself, Jason Whitlock said in a different show later that afternoon, the comments and attitude were essentially of the internet-troll “stay in the kitchen” variety.
Many speculate that this is all an ingenious ploy by LaVar to market his son, but as America can attest to, we’ve seen that when a sensationalized man shows you his true colors, you should probably just take his word for it.