About a month ago, SportsCenter host Jemele Hill stirred up some controversy when she used her personal Twitter account to point out that Donald Trump is “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” While a lot of people constantly do that same thing all the time without anyone getting mad, the backlash against Hill was so extreme that ESPN released an apology, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Hill to be fired, and Trump himself even retaliated in the most vicious way he could think of (by tweeting that ESPN has bad ratings).
Now, after another politics-tinged weekend of NFL games that saw Mike Pence blowing taxpayer money on a blatantly phony and asinine protest of his own, Hill has been suspended from ESPN for suggesting on Twitter that fans should be aware that they don’t have to support teams that refuse to allow players to protest. Her tweets came in response to a comment from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said that “if we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play”—meaning that any player who kneels during the anthem (even though they’re probably not doing it because of a stupid flag) will be benched.
Hill tweeted about Jones a lot yesterday (and also some similar comments from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross), but her main point throughout the day was that it’s not fair to blame players for following anti-protest rules like that. Instead, fans should just be conscious of the fact that they’re still watching the games and buying the merchandise, which implies support for the owners’ agendas. Apparently, though, her comments were just a hair too controversial, and Variety says her ESPN suspension will go for the next two weeks.
ESPN has also released a statement, indicating that tweets like Hill’s can “reflect negatively on ESPN.”