Kristine Leahy: I'm getting death threats after LaVar Ball confrontation

Sporting News

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 Tuesday, 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.

The story went viral on social media. Leahy told Cowherd she's getting death threats Thursday.

“For me this wasn’t a women issue. It wasn’t a racial issue. But it has turned into both," she said.

Leahy and Ball butted heads during interview.

Leahy believes Ball showed himself to be sexist and a bully by turning his back and refusing to address her Tuesday. 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 and become as much about race and sex as sports.

Ball's fans defended him on social media, arguing that Leahy seemed to insult his parenting skills by saying his kids seemed afraid of him. "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.

Wait....didn't she try to clown his parenting skills?!

— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) May 18, 2017

During an appearance with Jason Whitlock on "Speak for Yourself," Leahy denied she was accusing Ball of child abuse when she previously said her son seemed "terrified" of him.

"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. Meanwhile, Jason Whitlock, who's been Ball's fiercest critic at FS1, is planning a two-hour version of "Speak for Yourself" to address the Ball vs. Leahy controversy (5 p.m. ET).

Watch the whole exchange and Leahy's reaction here:

.@ColinCowherd and @KristineLeahy address yesterday's interview with LaVar Ball

— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 18, 2017