ESPN suspended Jemele Hill after she spoke out on Jerry Jones’ comments on national anthem protests.
On Monday, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon torched the Dallas Cowboys owner during Pardon the Interruption:
“He got down and linked arms and all that stuff and he said ‘I want to honor the anthem.’ It seemed like that was where he was going. Now it seems like it was as phony as a $3 bill. And the word that comes to my mind, and I don’t care who doesn’t like me using it, is plantation. The players are here to serve me, they will do what I want no matter how much I pay them. They are not equal to me. That’s what this says to me and to mine. And I want to know where the players are going to go.”
Jones has made his stance on national anthem protests quite clear over the last few weeks and he does not think his players or anyone should be disrespecting the American flag. Now, he is going a step further and saying that people won’t play if there’s any disrespect toward the flag. Here’s what he had to say via The Dallas Morning News:
“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period,” said Jones. “We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it. …I know this. We cannot in the NFL, in any way, give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag.
“We cannot do that. I know [Vice President Mike Pence] did leave because in his opinion, the teams were. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues. But there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag.
“Just so we’re clear.”
Hill started a firestorm with late-night tweets where she called President Donald Trump a white supremacist. The two sides went back-and-forth, with ESPN issuing several statements and Trump issuing his own via his Twitter account. Hill broke ESPN’s social media policy for a second time over the weekend, and she has now been suspended for two weeks:
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”
Her latest comments come in response to Jerry Jones’ decision on standing for the national anthem.
Disney (parent company to ESPN) CEO Bob Iger previously spoke into why the company chose not to fire Hill, via Yahoo:
“I felt that we had to take context into account. Context included what was going on in America. What I felt, what we felt, was that there were a lot of people who were outraged, particularly black people. They felt that the promise that was given to them — liberty and justice for all — during the Civil War or Civil Rights movement — were theirs. What they’ve seen in the last couple of months is the opposite,” he said.
After dozens of teams and players protested the national anthem following Donald Trump’s explosive “get that son of a b***h off the field,” comments, the Cowboys kneeled before the anthem, then stood with arms locked during it:
Here’s what he said earlier last month about the anthem protests and when it’s appropriate for people to express themselves and exercise their right to free speech:
“I do not think the place to express yourself in society is as we recognize the American flag,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone last week at a gala celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Forbes magazine. “So that’s not the place to do anything other than honor the flag and everybody that’s given up a little bit for it.”
Despite those statements, he’s never told players they will be fired, per Scout.
“I’m told no player has been threatened with a “you’re fired!’’ edict if he breaks ranks — but again, it is the intention of ownership and the team Leadership Council that the players’ effort be a bonded one, maybe even including the locking of arms during the Anthem. (Worth noting: I don’t dismiss the idea of a player interpreting the combined wishes of Jones and the Leadership Council as an “or-else edict,’’ even though that’s not their intent.)”
While they may not be fired, it does sound like they may be missing games and that could lead to missed game checks as well. You have to believe the NFLPA and its players will not be standing or sitting for that for very long.