ESPN’s Jemele Hill Says Tweets Aimed at Instructing People How to Protest Dallas Cowboys Were ‘Benign’

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ESPN host Jemele Hill is expressing shock that she was suspended over her tweets attacking NFL team and ESPN business partner Dallas Cowboys, because she feels her liberal activism was “benign.”

In September, the outspoken Hill was given a short, two-week suspension after a series of tweets aimed at hurting the Dallas Cowboys by targeting the team’s advertisers. Hill was upset by team Owner Jerry Jones, for saying that if any of his players disrespected the flag, they would not play.

On October 8, Hill took to Twitter to slam the Cowboys and to tell fans to punish the team. She also urged fans not to hold the players accountable for the perceived violation, and then told fans not to patronize advertisers.

Hill went on to say, “This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers,” and included a list of advertisers.

In another tweet, Hill insisted, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”

These tweets appeared only weeks after Hill came under criticism for taking to Twitter to call President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”

As a result, Hill was suspended for two weeks due to this second violation of the company’s social media policy that urges employees to avoid politically-charged posts on social media.

Though, it appears that Hill still doesn’t understand why she was suspended. On a December 18 podcast with Jim Miller, Hill expressed her confusion over the suspension claiming that her attacks on the Cowboys’ advertisers were no big deal, Awful Announcing reported.

When the discussion turned to the suspension, Hill said:

“The tweets that I had about Jerry Jones and the NFL and the anthem protests, if I make that point on television, I don’t think it creates a firestorm at all. Because people tend to pick up on the nuances of what I was trying to say, and it’s something I’ve actually said on television before, and nobody wrote about it. Not specifically related to Jerry Jones but just in general when it came to the NFL and the anthem protests and even when it came to domestic violence and when it came to concussions. The thing about Twitter is that tweets give certain outlets cheap, easy headlines. Really good clickbait. And they don’t really care about the nuance of what you’re trying to say on Twitter.”

She went on to say that her tweets were “pretty benign”:

“I never intended for it to create the firestorm that it did. I thought I was tweeting something pretty benign. And it was something I planned to say on television that day or the next evening … and I think the controversy and the spectacle of my tweets about Donald Trump hadn’t quite worn off, my mistake was not understanding that that was going to bring about an entirely different and new level of scrutiny, as naive as that sounds. I’m used to getting scrutinized. It’s part of the job and part of the position. But once those Trump tweets got out there, that brought a whole new audience that was kind of paying attention to things I was saying, and I was just as surprised as anyone.”

Hill continued saying that she is sorry she caused trouble for ESPN but she isn’t a bit sorry for urging a boycott of the advertisers.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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