The once-dominant sports outlet ESPN has come under significant fire in the last few years for perceived political bias. The significant and pronounced anti-Conservative bias became abundantly clear after the network chose to continue to prop up employees that chose to push the company’s pronounced and undeniable anti-Trump agenda. Yet at one point the same network chose to fire multiple employees simply for expressing conservative viewpoints.
From firing baseball icon Curt Schilling to allowing prime-time SportsCenter news anchor Jemele Hill to air her racism publically on social media, the network has an obvious liberal-leaning and many conservatives have rightly called out this transparent bias.
In 2016 Newsbusters reported ESPN’s public editor admitted the network has a known problem. Jim Brady admitted, “One notion that virtually everyone I spoke to at ESPN dismisses is what some have perceived as unequal treatment of conservatives who make controversial statements vs. liberals who do the same.”
He added – “ESPN is far from immune from the political fever that has afflicted so much of the country over the past year. Internally, there’s a feeling among many staffers — both liberal and conservative — that the company’s perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing product. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some…. For most of its history, ESPN was viewed relatively apolitically. Its core focus was — and remains today, of course — sports. Although the nature of sports meant an occasional detour into politics and culture was inevitable, there wasn’t much chatter about an overall perceived political bias. If there was any tension internally, it didn’t manifest itself publicly.”
Ben Shapiro notes of Brady’s confession of bias at ESPN, stating –
“Brady talked to anchor Bob Ley, who admitted that ESPN has no “diversity of thought.” A conservative employee told Brady that “If you’re a Republican or conservative, you feel the need to talk in whispers.” Jemele Hill, naturally, said “I would challenge those people who say they feel suppressed. Do you fear backlash, or do you fear right and wrong?”
This is the problem. And this is why ESPN and the media more generally fail. It is suppression to label those who disagree with you politically morally evil because they disagree. Yet that’s what Hill does. That’s what ESPN does, too. The left believes its opinions and feelings are facts; those who disagree are therefore either morons or fascists. That’s why Hill thinks Schilling should have been fired for putting up a meme expressing that transgender people should go to the bathroom in the restroom that matches their biological sex. Schilling must be evil.”
Now Hill has announced that she and ESPN will be parting ways after 12 years as a commentator, anchor, reporter, and writer. She posted on Twitter that Friday would be her last day, stating –
“This was the place where I became the best version of myself, both personally and professionally,” she wrote. “However, the time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my life.”
Over the last several weeks, there have been a lot of rumors about my job status. Today is my last day at ESPN.
More from me on closing one of the most special chapters in my life: pic.twitter.com/jReaH5sWhW
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 14, 2018
A buyout of her reported $2.5 million-per-year contract has been completed and her last day will be Friday, sources told the New York Post.
Hill attracted a lot of negative attention for both herself and for ESPN last year, as well as faced a brief suspension from the network for her opinionated political social media posts and often bigoted commentary, including a tweet referring to President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
She also sought out and targeted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after he stated players who chose to disrespect the flag by kneeling during the national anthem would not play for his team. She was suspended from the network for a brief period after tweeting that fans who disagree with Jones’ sentiment regarding the national anthem and his players conduct should target the team’s advertisers and refrain from buying any Dallas Cowboys merchandise.
Hill became a rising star with ESPN while hosting the opinion-based talk show “His & Hers” with Michael Smith. Both Smith and Hill were later asked to host a more personality-driven 6 p.m. edition of the network’s signature “SportsCenter” program. In January 2018, Hill left this role and went to work primarily for The Undefeated – a company website that focuses on issues of sports, race, and culture.
“So much of my career at ESPN – almost exclusively at some points – has been in commentary,” she told Variety. “They hired me as a columnist. I’ve been giving my opinion since day one.”
WTHR reports –
“Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, issued a statement praising Hill as ‘an exceptionally talented writer, storyteller host and commentator whose unique voice has made ESPN’s many platforms better over the last 12 years.’
‘As she moves forward into the next phase of her career, with the desire to produce content outside of sports, we wish her the best and thank her for her work,’ he said.
Hill has not announced her post-ESPN plans.”
However, Fox News reported that “during an in-depth conversation at OZY Fest in July, Hill mused about “whether or not I would continue on … in sports period. There is a real concentration, still a real need, on stories about women of color… that will be a huge focus of what I do,” she said.
She said she is “really excited” about the next phase of her career and would work to dismantle institutional racism.
“Somebody needs to step up and save us,” Hill said.
She called leaving sports media a “bittersweet” feeling.”