For some time, commentator Sage Steele has offered an alternative voice at the largely left-leaning ESPN. However, that voice has just been silenced.
The Hill reported on Tuesday that Steele has been temporarily taken off the air following a series of comments she made about race, female reporters, and the COVID-19 vaccine.
During a recent broadcast, Steele that she found it “fascinating” former President Barack Obama would identify as African American on the census.
“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing,’” Steele remarked. “I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
The host also had remarks regarding female reporters who attempt to present a sexualized image and then become the focus of unwanted comments.
“So when you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too,” Steele said. “Like, women are smart, so don’t play coy and put it all on the guys.”
Regarding her network’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, Steele declared, “I respect everyone’s decision. I really do. But to mandate it is sick, and it’s scary to me in many ways.”
In response, ESPN moved to suspend Steele for a week as well as remove her from hosting an event that was scheduled for later this month.
The Philadelphia Enquirer published a statement from the network that read, “At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great.”
“That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies,” the statement added.
According to The Hill, Steele offered an apology for her remarks, saying, “I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize.”
Steele added, “We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”