One of the more unique relationships in sports media was that of Dan Le Batard and Hank Goldberg. There was no love lost between the two, but as Le Batard admits, his show wouldn’t exist if not for Goldberg.
Goldberg, a longtime ESPN personality known for his NFL and horse racing reporting and handicapping, passed away Monday on his 82nd birthday. And as the sports world mourned Goldberg, Le Batard offered his version of a eulogy to address the death of a man he was once bitter rivals with.
“More than merely a legend, I can say this honestly, if not for Hank Goldberg, this would not exist,” Le Batard said referring to his podcast and co-host Jon “Stugotz” Weiner. “All of it. The Hank Goldberg coaching tree, the best thing it birthed, sits right next to me. It has belched out little other radio talent, but Stugotz is the lasting legacy of what Hank Goldberg did.”
The rivalry between Le Batard and Goldberg precedes Le Batard having a radio show or podcast, and stems from his time as a columnist with The Miami Herald. At the time, Le Batard’s now longtime co-host, Stugotz, was the executive producer for Goldberg’s radio show on WQAM.
According to Stugotz, the later stages of Goldberg’s radio tenure turned into a “daily ripping” of Le Batard. Goldberg would walk into the studio with a copy of the Herald, read Le Batard’s column, and comment. That method of show prep fueled Goldberg on the radio for years.
Unaware of who Le Batard was, aside from reading his column, Stugotz figured if the Herald columnist had the ability to agitate Goldberg this much in print, then he would be pretty entertaining on air. Stugotz decided to lead a group in leasing WAXY-AM to build a new sports radio station in Miami, 790 The Ticket, and he targeted Le Batard as an on-air personality. In 2004, The Dan Le Batard Show launched on WAXY as a competitor to Goldberg and WQAM.
Despite Stugotz once having a professional relationship with Goldberg, Le Batard made sure to point out “Hank Goldberg died hating you. With his last breath, he died hating you from Las Vegas as you knew he would, Stugotz.”
Le Batard was mocking Stugotz for his Monday tweet mourning the loss of Goldberg in which he referred to the late reporter and radio host as a “legend.”
“You’re out here saying legend because you don’t have anything else to say,” Le Batard added. “A lot of people are out here saying legend because they just didn’t know what else to say.”
Le Batard, however, had plenty more to say.
“I don’t want to get aggregated as ‘Le Batard Dances on Hank Goldberg’s Grave’ or ‘buries Hank Goldberg.’ I would never say that I am happy to see anyone die. I am just saying that I was never that happy when he was alive,” Le Batard bluntly stated. “He was truly terrible to so many people…you want to talk about this honestly? He was a legend, yeah. And he was an asshole to a whole lot of people!”
Le Batard may not have wanted to get aggregated, but that quote was just begging to be shared. Despite offering up a Mike Francesa-style eulogy, Le Batard stated he would refrain from telling “unflattering” stories about Goldberg and the way he attempted to squash Le Batard’s career.
“I don’t want to it to seem like there was any joy in what happened [Monday],” Le Batard said. “Because Hank Goldberg in this town did create a sports voice that helped make us national. And made gambling a little more normal. And Hank Goldberg in this town, before anybody else, was a big shot in this town.”