Longtime Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson took a shot at LeBron James on Sunday, saying he wants the NBA superstar — and other professional athletes — to stay out of the political arena.
Harrelson is currently wrapping up his 33rd and final season calling games for the White Sox, and will retire at the end of the season. The White Sox honored Harrelson on Sunday during their game against the Boston Red Sox, dubbing it “Hawk Day.”
Yet while broadcasting alongside A.J. Pierzynski in the bottom of the first inning, Harrelson went on a strange, ignorant tangent.
He, for some reason, went after James and said that he no longer watches him play. He’d rather see James “shut up and dribble.”
“I used to watch LeBron, but no more,” Harrelson said. “I wish these guys would keep their nose out of politics and just play, because people didn’t come to hear their opinions on politicians.”
Why Harrelson picked then — not even a full inning into a game and on the day that he’s being honored for a decades-long broadcasting career — to go on that tangent bashing professional athletes who speak their minds doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Though this isn’t the first time Harrelson has gone on a controversial rant while in the broadcast booth.
During a game last season, White Sox announcer Steve Stone was talking about how sometimes having too much information as a player can burden that player during a game. Harrelson quickly agreed with him, and claimed it was true “especially (of) Latin players.”
During a game in 2014, Harrelson made a racist comment while watching Taiwanese pitcher Chen-Chang Lee pitch for the Indians, saying that Lee had, “typical Asian motion, [with] deception involved.” He also made a sexist comment while calling a game later that same season, complaining about a rule meant to protect catchers from getting hurt while in a helpless position.
“This rule is B.S., that’s what it is,” Harrelson said in 2014. “Pure, simple B.S. It’s not baseball … Next thing you know we’ll have catchers wearing skirts out there.”
Pierzynski didn’t have a chance to respond to Harrelson’s comments on Sunday, either, as the next play quickly ended the inning.
Harrelson is set to call just three more games for the White Sox — when they host the Chicago Cubs later this month — before he wraps up his career.
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