1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 7. If you doubt the Le Batard billboards are causing a big reaction, check out the screengrab at right. I'm not a "trending" kind of guy, but trended for a bit after I Tweeted out a link to the blog item below. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden's greatest challenge, Stanton MVP odds, emaciated Gap model and more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
Coming soon: I Defy Logic, Time and Distance: I plan to kick a 50-yard field goal. I'll share details in the blog soon, so stay tuned.
ESPN SUSPENDS LE BATARD FOR TWO DAYS FOR LEBRON STUNT: [See item directly below for what led to suspension] ESPN today yanked Dan Le Batard off the air from his radio and television shows and will have him off again Friday as punishment for putting up billboards in Akron needling LeBron James. The ESPN statement: "Dan will be off the air for two days, returning Monday. His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN's standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance." Le Batard described the stunt as "fun anarchy" in comments exclusively in this blog yesterday. The two-day suspension, though a wrist-slap, is comically unnecessary. It's also this: Great publicity for Dan and his two ESPN platforms. I asked Dan for a comment. He just texted me: "I guess ESPN didn't find it all quite as funny as I did."
LEBATARD RADIO SHOW'S STEALTH ATTACK ON LEBRON'S AKRON HOMECOMING NOW UNDERWAY!: It is underway, and we had it first. Radio star Dan Le Batard of ESPN and Miami's The Ticket has today begun to unleash a good-natured advertising surprise on LeBron James as the Cavaliers celebrate his return to Cleveland with a homecoming in Akron on Friday. (Although "surprise" may be too strong a word considering he has yakked about it on-air as, in his words, an unabashed "attention grab disguised as a cause.") The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz initially considered full-page ads that pictured James' two championship rings won in Miami and read, "You're Welcome, LeBron" -- a gentle jab at LeBron not thanking Miami fans in his departure essay. When that idea was rejected by self-righteous Cleveland and Akron newspapers, LeBatard moved on to a no-longer secret Plan B now underway: Billboards! Pictured is what we think is the first of several to go up around Akron, the photo texted to me by a friend who lives just outside the city. Show producer Mike Ryan will be in Akron on Friday to give the show a live presence. There are rumors of an additional tier of the ad-assault that remains top secret, perhaps to be revealed on Friday. I pledged to not share more than I have at this time so that LeBron's "people" would not have enough advance notice or information to crush the plan. You especially don't (bleep) with Nike, which (not a lot of people know this) has its own CIA and military, including rumors of nuclear arms. Update: Dan just texted me his explanation for why he's doing this: "It's just fun anarchy. All meant in fun -- which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine. Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement. Please don't tell anyone there is no actual movement."
Greg Oden arrested: TMZ reports Greg Oden has been arrested for beating his ex-girlfriend. Story here. Oden was iffy/doubtful to be back with Heat even before this. Now? Forget it.
SCOTT MITCHELL WEIGHS 366 POUNDS: I can now state, as a matter of fact, that I once wrote a column suggesting the Miami Dolphins trade Dan Marino for a man who weighs 366 pounds. Quick explainer: Back in the early '90s, I wrote that the Dolphins should look into trading Marino, who then still had much trade value, because Mitchell at the time was a young, hot QB coming off a big season for Miami after Marino's Achilles injury. Well, fast forward to now. The long-retired Mitchell weighs 366 pounds (pictured) and appears on the new season of TV's The Biggest Loser weight-loss show starting in September. I'll end the item with that because A) it isn't nice to make fun of fat people, and B) OK I may have been wrong on that trade-Marino column, in retrospect. There. Are you happy!?
URGENT DOLPHIN CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: Your Dolphin cheerleaders this Saturday will unveil their 2015 swimsuit calendar, the strongest evidence yet that there will be a 2015 despite scattered reports of impending Armageddon. A Dolphin cheerleader of undisclosed month is pictured, her smile and calm outward demeanor yet another reassurance that everything little t'ing gonna be alright.
"WE'RE NO. 10! WE'RE...!": The magazine Conde Nast Traveler emits its annual list of America's 10 friendliest and unfriendliest cities, and top rankings go to Charleston, S.C. for most welcoming and to Newark, N.J. for threatening to kill you. Two Florida cities earn a mention -- Key West tied for eighth most friendly, and our own Miami checking in as 10th unfriendliest. "[Bleep] that and [bleep] the [bleep-bleepers] in charge of the list," said the city of Miami in a prepared statement.
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