INDIANAPOLIS — Dan Dakich said Tuesday on his WFNI The Fan afternoon sports radio show that he assumes ESPN won’t have him back as a college basketball analyst next season, after a February controversy in which he was accused of being a misogynist.
The quick comment from Dakich came as he talked about the life of Hoosiers and Pacers icon Bobby “Slick” Leonard, who died Tuesday at 88. As Dakich encouraged people to live life to the fullest and not worry about what others think, he brought up his latest controversy.
“You know let ’em come at you. I love the fact that a month ago all these bullets were flying my way from the most woke … I love it,” he said. “It’s the best thing that ever happened, regardless of what happens.
“I don’t know if ESPN is going to have me back. I assume they won’t,” Dakich added. “Who cares? Who cares man?”
ESPN did not respond to a request for comment on Dakich’s status Wednesday. In February, the network said it was investigating Dakich after a Twitter quarrel in which a woman college professor accused him of misogynistic speech.
In early March, a person with knowledge of the situation told IndyStar that ESPN had addressed the situation directly with Dakich and “made their concerns very clear to him,” adding that those conversations would not be made public. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
ESPN confirmed at the same time that Dakich was still employed as a college basketball analyst for the network, a job he’s held since 2010. The station did not say whether he would be brought back for another season.
‘If you have no enemies…’
Dakich has kept his Indianapolis-based radio show, “The Dan Dakich Show,” which airs noon to 3 p.m. on WFNI The Fan, owned by Emmis Communications.
On that show Tuesday, Dakich said he admired Leonard for the way he lived his life. “There’s a saying about screeching into heaven. That man went in screeching,” Dakich said. “You talk about a life well lived. Ah man, he had a life well lived.”
Dakich then read what he said is one of his favorite quotes on how to live life from Hunter S. Thompson.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
“Stand up. Stand up and stand out,” Dakich said. “If you have no enemies you never stood for … I’ve got a ton of enemies and I love it,” he said. “Stand up and stand out. Good for you Slick Leonard.”
ESPN’s investigation into Dakich launched after a Twitter dispute over college athlete compensation in which Dakich debated several college professors Feb. 23.
One of those professors, Dr. Johanna Mellis, accused him of misogynistic actions after she challenged him to a swimming competition.
When Dakich asked whether teachers knew anything about sports, Mellis responded: “Dan you want to play in the ‘arena?'” Mellis tweeted to Dakich. “Let’s level the playing field a bit: I used to swim upwards of 10,000 yards in practice sometimes. I’ve done 10x100s butterfly, 10x400IMs, and one time 10×1000 freestyles for time. It’s brutal, but yeah let’s go at it in the pool.”
Mellis said in an email to IndyStar that she was asking that they race in the pool, but Dakich took it another direction. He responded with a tweet that has since been deleted, saying he would have to get divorced from his wife first.
“Through his use of the b-word and the way he sexualized my clear reference to racing in the pool, he debased and violated me according to my identity over the public airwaves for all to hear,” Mellis wrote.
Dakich used the word “bitching” when referring to Mellis and some male professors the next day, Feb. 24. He did not name the professors and noted on his show March 2 he never violated their privacy. He has since deleted his Twitter account.
Emmis Communications has not responded to repeated requests, including one Wednesday, from IndyStar for comment on the matter.
Dakich has had other controversies, including one that prompted discipline from Emmis.
In 2019, Dakich was suspended by Emmis for “a failure last year on Dan’s part to adhere to the journalistic principles valued by Emmis.” Emmis did not elaborate on what led to Dakich’s five-day suspension, nor did Dakich respond to a request for comment from IndyStar at the time.
In March 2020, Dakich went on a five-minute tirade in which he lambasted the firing of the head coach of Scottsburg High, while simultaneously insulting the town and school.
He called a player a “meth head,” said the town was full of “meth and AIDS and needles,” urged listeners to “take a dump” in Scottsburg and threatened, “I may just drive down there and beat the hell out of every school board member.”
Emmis told IndyStar at the time it was “aware of the statements made by Dan Dakich earlier this week and we continue to investigate the issue.” Dakich was not publicly punished for the tirade.
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow.