Before ESPN anchor Jemele Hill commented following her decision to call President Donald Trump a white supremacist, the network reportedly attempted to take her off the air Wednesday night, per ThinkProgress.
“ESPN originally tried to keep Hill off the air on Wednesday evening, but Smith refused to do the show without her, the sources said. Both sources also said that producers reached out to two other black ESPN hosts, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, to ask them to serve as fill-ins for the show — but Eaves and Duncan did not agree to take the place of Hill and Smith, either.”
Eaves later sent a cryptic tweet:
ESPN reportedly then decided not to fill her position with a white co-host and went with Hill and Smith.
“We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz emailed ThinkProgress after this story was published.
Here were Hill’s comments on Thursday:
“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
Her response comes after the White House, via press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called for ESPN to fire Hill. Here’s what she said in a recent press briefing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW:
“I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” Huckabee Sanders said.
Sanders relayed that she’s not sure if President Trump knows of Hills tweets, but you can bet that he’ll hear about them now that they’re in not just the national sports spotlight, but now in the political arena as well.
ESPN hasn’t necessarily stopped its anchors and personalities from getting political from time to time, but this has already become a bigger story than Hill — or ESPN — likely figured it would. ESPN is part of the pop-culture of the United States, thus Hill has the ability to impact that pop-culture. Even she probably never realized that this would become such a big deal, though, so it’s going to be interesting to see if she ends up backtracking on her statements.
The four letter network has publically reprimanded her and ESPN also apologized for her comments, but now the highest office in the land is calling for her job. We do have freedom of speech as Americans, but that freedom does not make us immune to the consequences of what we say, good or bad.
Stay tuned. This has gone from a sports story with political ties to a full blown thing in the world of politics. Hill’s comments were addressed by the White House press secretary, for Pete’s sake.
This could get wacky. It already is a huge story.