The comment was made toward host Molly Qerim Rose.
LaVar Ball is facing backlash after making an inappropriate comment to First Take host Molly Qerim Rose on air recently.
Ball made an appearance on the ESPN show Monday where he discussed his son, Lonzo Ball, who was a part of the trade deal that reportedly brought Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Qerim Rose, wanting to move on from the topic, said to Ball “can I switch gears with you because I have a question here,” to which he responded, “You can switch gears with me anytime.”
— Dave Barabas (@barabas_dave) June 17, 2019
Qerim Rose then urged Ball to “stay focused” as her co-hosts, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, looked on disapprovingly at Ball.
Since the incident, a spokesperson for ESPN issued the following statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer via USA Today: “LaVar Ball’s comment to Molly Qerim Rose was completely inappropriate and we made him aware of that.”
Former ESPN reporter Jemele Hill took to Twitter to commend Qerim Rose for her handling of the on air comment, writing: “Kudos to Molly Querim for the professional way she handled LaVar Ball after his inappropriate comment. Maybe ESPN will have finally learned its lesson about putting him on TV.”
Kudos to Molly Querim for the professional way she handled LaVar Ball after his inappropriate comment. Maybe ESPN will have finally learned its lesson about putting him on TV.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 17, 2019
Ball, however, said that his comment toward Qerim Rose wasn’t intended to be “sexual in nature” despite the way it sounded on TV.
“[LaVar] was asked if he wanted to switch gears, in his mind switching gears was ‘changing the subject anytime’ and he said, ‘yes, you can switch gears with me anytime,'” Denise White, a rep for Ball, said in a statement according to TMZ. “At NO time was that intended or meant to be sexual in nature.”