ESPN, the cable sports network that’s been hemorrhaging viewers for months, asked their hosts to get more political. But when Sage Steele, a black, conservative-leaning host did just that, they replaced her with someone far more liberal.
Recently, Steele complained that the anti-Trump protestors demonstrating against the president’s travel ban at their airport caused her to miss her flight. In February, she spurred controversy by saying she’s faced more racism from black people than from people of other races.
“There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing,” Steele said, according to The Daily Wire.
“The worst racism that I have received [as a biracial woman married to white man], and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience. . . But even as recent as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen?” she said.
On Tuesday, the network released a new set of guidelines recognizing the “connection between sports, politics.”
“We wanted the policy to reflect the reality of the world today,” ESPN’s vice president Craig Bengtson said in a statement announcing the policy shift. “There are people talking about politics in ways we have not seen before, and we’re not immune from that.”
The next day, the network announced they were replacing Steele on their show “NBA Countdown” with Michelle Beadle, who has taken to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction with President Trump on the regular.
ESPN is saying they haven’t fired Steele from the network, they’ve simply moved her from her role on “NBA Countdown” to join their “SportsCenter on the Road” initiative. As blogger Ace of Spades put it, this sounds like a demotion.
“If that’s what it sounds like, all I can say is, Everyone loves being kicked out of a gig where they show up at the same place every day in order to be put on a bus and travel around the country,” Ace writes. “People love traveling every day of their working lives.”