With the ongoing national anthem protests in professional sports, champion teams and athletes refusing to visit the White House, and President Donald Trump trying to regulate how owners treat their players, the line between politics and sports is thinner than ever.
As these two worlds collide, sports news commentators and announcers have been emboldened to chime in with their views on how the current political climate is affecting professional sports. Case in point being controversial ESPN reporter Jemele Hill’s recent two-week suspension after her politically-charged tweets, supposedly, violated the network’s social media policy.
Now, agents for ESPN employees are trying to extinguish the fire and separate politics from sports by advising their clients not to discuss it, Uproxx reports.
John Ourand of Sports Business Daily reportedly said that agents want their clients to just stick to sports — not only on air, but on social media as well.
“Some agents who did not want to speak on the record expressed frustration at ESPN’s social media policy, which they called confusing. With President Trump increasingly tweeting about sports, they said the line between political and sports commentary has become too blurry.
Even some ESPN executives admitted that the company has been way too inconsistent in how it enforces its social media guidelines. Sources expect ESPN management to lay out specific social media guidelines — and spell out potential punishments — before the end of the year.”
While perhaps more clarity surrounding ESPN's social media guidelines is necessary, we can only hope that any updated policy will reflect a fair solution that doesn't simply silence anchors from being able to speak out against the wrongs of the world — whether political or social.
As for the agents advising clients to keep their political opinions to a minimum, it's clear that they are just trying to tread lightly in the interest of making sure others do not end up in Hill's shoes.
Nevertheless, politics and sports can never completely be pulled apart because athletes, sports journalists, coaches, and team owners are also American citizens who are just as much impacted by the government's decisions as regular civilians.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, Mike Blake