Host of ESPN’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter,” Jemele Hill, made headlines weeks ago for tweets that strongly criticized President Donald Trump, blatantly calling him out as a white supremacist.
Hill’s tweets caused a stir throughout the entire internet and eventually caught the attention of Trump, himself, who called for her termination. ESPN attempted to smooth things over by taking Hill off the air; however, her co-host and other black colleagues refused to replace her or continue the show in her absence.
While the network distanced itself from her remarks at the time in an official statement, it was clear that there wasn’t much they could do to reprimand her without stirring up more controversy as social media users accused them of attempting to shut her views down because she is a black woman.
However, this week, ESPN finally got its chance to punish their token troublemaker when Hill took to Twitter Sunday to drag Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys after the team owner said any player who took a knee during the national anthem would be benched.
In a series of tweets, Hill said that fans could stand up to Jones by refusing to buy Cowboys merchandise or watch games.
Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don't kneel, some will see them as sellouts.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
No, I think the Cowboy fans -- the paying customers -- need to pick up this fight. Don't look to Dez or Dak. YOU do it. https://t.co/f9YjZFgGGt— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Don't ask Dak, Dez & other Cowboys players to protest. A more powerful statement is if you stop watching and buying their merchandise.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Cowboys have a huge national following. Lot of black & brown folks are Cowboys fans. What if they turned their backs on them? https://t.co/qezpPwDTAB— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Or, how about not patronizing the advertisers who support the Cowboys? You can watch and do that, right? https://t.co/duPNqxFta7— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
After being accused by many other Twitter users of inciting an NFL boycott, Hill returned on Monday to clarify her comments. However, the damage had already been done.
Just so we're clear: I'm not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
If fans really are that upset about what JJ & Stephen Ross have done, don't call the players sellouts, but you're watching every Sunday.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
By Monday afternoon, ESPN had released a statement announcing that Hill had been suspended for two weeks for, supposedly, violating their social media policy for the second time (the first time being the Trump fiasco).
ESPN's Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/JkVoBVz7lv— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 9, 2017
It seems that executives at ESPN were stewing and waiting for Hill to give them a reason to dish out a punishment.
It may have seemed like the Trump controversy had died down in the public eye, and it may have appeared as though — for once — that a vocal and passionate black woman won the fight against a white male-dominated corporate behemoth.
Alas, with this move, ESPN quickly stripped that sliver of hope away by pouncing at the first opportunity to remind her who's boss.
Additionally, another major factor in this ordeal is money, and the fact that Hill's tweets suggested hurting the NFL's pockets, which, in turn, would hurt ESPN's pockets. Of course, they couldn't stand for that.
However, this point simply serves as another infuriating example of how corporate media puts profit over people all too often. Employees, like Hill, who grind day in and day out for ESPN should be supported by their employer, but instead, they are thrown under the bus with no hesitation.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, Mike Segar