“I’ve had this discussion internally with hundreds of our employees that sports is about uniting and ESPN needs to unite people around sports,” said Pitaro, who has been running ESPN for 17 months, in a Washington Post profile. “That’s our role, or one of our roles.” Pitaro said his chief goal has been to change the perception that ESPN had become too political. “Right or wrong, fair or unfair, perceptions become reality,” he said. Pitaro declined to discuss the recent controversy over Dan Le Batard slamming ESPN over its stick-to-sports policy, but he did say he was sensitive to talent feeling compelled to speak out during this political moment. “Of course I am, and I have my own views," he said. "But I also recognize that when I or one of our on-air personalities speak publicly that that is received as the opinions of ESPN, and that can’t be. We look at what our fans are telling us.” ALSO: ESPN's stick-to-sports policy doesn't make sense when sports has always been political.