Kristine Leahy: I'm getting death threats after LaVar Ball confrontationSporting News — firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael McCarthy)
Fox Sports 1 host Kristine Leahy says she's been getting death threats following LaVar Ball's tense, confrontational appearance on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on Wednesday, and that it's time for TV networks to stop inviting him as a guest.
The outspoken father of star NBA Draft prospect Lonzo Ball has been a regular guest on FS1's "The Herd" and "Undisputed" with Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor as well as ESPN's "First Take" with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim. But Ball crossed the line when he turned his back on Leahy and told her to "stay in your lane." Leahy fired back.
She seemed rattled when relating the death threats Thursday. The confrontation has blown way out of proportion, she said.
“For me this wasn’t a women issue. It wasn’t a racial issue. But it has turned into both," Leahy said.
Leahy believes Ball showed himself to be sexist and a bully by turning his back and refusing to address her Wednesday. Ball mocked Leahy's previous comment that she'd never wear Big Baller gear, calling her a "hater."
On Thursday's "Herd," Leahy said:
"I think the reason so many networks choose have him on is because he says a lot of controversial things. He’s loud and a big personality, which I've been totally fine with. But I hope that yesterday showed who he is, and that we stop putting him on all these networks just to get controversial statements out of him, because that is potentially what can happen. I think there's no place for that in TV — no matter what kind of ratings you’re going to get. At this point, what I think about is, I would love for Lonzo Ball to have whatever he can. I think about him in this situation. I want him to do well. I hope that we stop letting his father talk so much and maybe allow Lonzo to talk. I would love to hear more from him. I would hope he’s successful. I think what LaVar is doing, I don’t think yesterday is going to help his son at all."
The Leahy vs. Ball story has gone viral on social media.
Ball's fans defended him on social media, arguing that Leahy insulted his parenting skills by saying Lonzo seemed "terrified" of his Dad back in March.
"Who is she to comment on (LaVar) Ball's parenting but (people) are up in arms (because) he clapped back on her?! What am I missing here?" tweeted Damien Woody, the former NFL player turned ESPN analyst.
During an appearance with Jason Whitlock on "Speak for Yourself" Thursday afternoon, Leahy denied accusing Ball of child abuse.
"I never accused anyone of child abuse. That is a very, very serious issue. I would never go there," he said.
Leahy said her objection boiled down to the "complete lack of respect" showed her by Ball.
"Have some respect. Don’t threaten me. Don’t make personal jokes. Don’t mock me. And don’t say you’re not going to look me in the eye. If he wants to come on and look me in the eye, and be respectful, he can still disagree with me. I’m OK with that. But I will not tolerate what he did yesterday," she said.
Even so, Leahy admitted it was time to redesign the set of "The Herd," which places her almost behind guests while they talk to Cowherd.