Sage Steele Controversy – Why did ESPN remove Sage Steele from the lineup for a week?

Half of ESPN’s 12 p.m. (ET) SportsCenter team, Sage Marie Steele, is an American journalist and television personality. In addition to hosting SportsCenter for major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the Masters, it also serves as the host for SportsCenter on the Road. Previously, Steele presented NBA Countdown for four seasons on ESPN and ABC, which ended in 2017.

With SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program, and Mike & Mike in the Morning before that, Steele had worked for the network for five years before taking the NBA job. SportsCenter’s daytime coverage of the NBA Finals in 2012 and 2013 was hosted by Steele, who also covered every Finals from 2012 to 2020.

Why was Sage Steele fired so abruptly?

An appearance on an ESPN podcast by Sage Steele has sparked controversy, with the host calling the company’s coronavirus vaccine mandate “sick” and saying former President Obama’s self-identification as black was “fascinating” because “her black father was nowhere to be found”. Steele has since been removed from ESPN programming for a week.

It was reported by Front Office Sports and the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that Steele will miss a week of her normal “SportsCenter” noon slot and will no longer be leading the “espnW: Women + Sports Summit” in 2021, which will take place from October 18 to 20, respectively.

One of the best things about working at ESPN is how open the company is to new ideas and points of view. However, we ask that all views be presented in a civil and polite manner consistent with our company values ​​and internal policies.

While hosting ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Sage Steele made controversial remarks regarding vaccination requirements, female sportswriters and former President Barack Obama’s racial identity.

Following remarks he made on the “Uncut With Jay Cutler” podcast on September 29, Steele was taken off the air.

Steele said the following in a statement to CNN: “I’m sorry if my recent remarks have offended your company, and I take full responsibility for that. In the face of extremely difficult times, it is more important than ever that we speak to each other constructively and cautiously, and this is especially true now.”

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Steele made a number of inexplicable claims while recording a podcast hosted by the former NFL quarterback.

Steele noted that while she respects an individual’s option to get the Covid-19 vaccine, “demanding it is sick, and it’s concerning to me” while discussing the corporate mandate of ESPN on vaccines.

As a mixed-race woman, she spoke to Cutler about her thoughts on President Obama’s choice to identify as black in the census.

Sage Steele controversy

“My first reaction is congratulations on our new leader. That’s what he’s good for. The fact that he was raised by his white mother and grandmother, despite the fact that his black father was never located, intrigues me. Here’s what I’m going to do: “Steele made the statement.

When it comes to sexual harassment in the media, Steele says women must “be responsible” and that it “isn’t just up to players, athletes and coaches to behave in a particular way.” ”

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“During conversations with young women, they asked me if I would listen to their CD or if I would do something for them. I always answered yes. To be clear: your appearance is not something I like to identify with, although “Cutler nodded confirming this to him.

When you put on an outfit like that, “I don’t mean you deserve the disgusting remarks, but you also know what you’re doing when you put it on.”

Former ESPN anchor Cari Champion claimed many young brunettes in the sports world, including her daughter, looked up to Steele in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on New Day Wednesday. She said it was heartbreaking to hear him bashing African Americans and bashing women.

Sage Steele controversy

There were so many cruel things indicated by (Steele’s statements),” said Champion, a former colleague who had worked with Steele. “And it also demonstrates a lack of understanding on his part,” adds the professor.

In response to a question regarding his remarks about female sports reporters, Champion said such a mindset simply pushes women “down” in a male-dominated industry like sports broadcasting.

She believes she’s grasped high morals when in reality all she’s done is isolate herself from other women in an industry that already divides us, Champion said. “We can’t get along because we always compare ourselves to each other. And it’s a real disappointment. »

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According to an ESPN rep, the network is in a private conversation with Steele.

“At ESPN, we encourage a wide range of points of view because we believe that an open conversation is the best way to learn and grow. But we want these opinions to be conveyed with courtesy, in accordance with our values ​​and in accordance with our house rules; “They said so, according to them. ‘We speak directly with Sage, and these discussions will remain confidential,’ the spokesperson said.

It’s been just over a month since The New York Times reported on Rachel Nichols’ statements about fellow NBA analyst Maria Taylor during a private chat in 2020, which resulted in her departure from the network’s coverage of the NBA.

Taylor, who is African American, was chosen to anchor NBA Finals coverage due to the network’s diversity initiatives, according to a Times report.

The following day, Nichols apologized on air.

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