Bomani Jones, one of ESPN’s more politically outspoken employees, says in a new interview that he sees changes in how the network is treating liberal opinion among employees.
Jones, who started with ESPN radio in 2012 and who seems to have suffered no real repercussions for his liberal views, once praised ESPN for allowing left-wing opinion by exclaiming,”I don’t think anybody at ESPN is going to get in trouble for saying something that is factually undeniable.” Jones made those comments before the network handed out suspensions to outspoken liberal employee Jemele Hill.
While Hill’s charge that President Trump is a “white supremacist” and owed his political ascendancy to other white supremacists is, in reality, the very essence of a deniable charge. One presumes that Jones, Hill, and a huge majority of others in ESPN’s workforce do not believe Trump’s racism is even a debatable point.
Jones has been an outspoken liberal since day one. He made his name by attacking the Duke Lacrosse players, even after they were revealed as innocent of the charges hurled against them. Since then, he continued on a streak of race-mongering proclamations. Jones even famously wore a “Caucasians” shirt on television while decrying the use of Native American mascots.
Then, in January of 2016, Jones insisted that criticism of Cam Newton was due to the “simple reality” that the U.S.A. “does not like black people very much.” Later he went after Albert Breer for wanting proof that Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones had been racially heckled at Fenway Park. Jones also grumbled over Tim Tebow’s baseball success saying that it made him “hate coming to work.”
In addition, the interview comes ahead of the coming June 4 debut of Jones’ new TV show, High Noon. So, his wild-eyed liberalism has met with little opprobrium from ESPN bosses.
Now, in a new interview with GQ magazine, Jones seems to be saying that he no longer thinks that liberal “truth” will shield employees for uttering controversial left-wing ideas.
In response to a question about how he felt after Jemele Hill was suspended, Jones explained how he thinks things have “changed” at the network:
‘I think where things have changed from what I said [in 2015] to what I’m looking now at, is I never imagined that something factually true could prove to be as inflammatory as things that are factually true have proven to be.’ As for his own ability to strike a balance between speaking his mind and keeping his job, Jones is unfazed. ‘Perhaps it’s because I have the arrogance to believe that I can figure this out.’ He acknowledges that the response to Hill is ‘absolutely colored by the fact that she is a woman…and a black woman, at that.’
Of course, we know that ESPN has never treated its liberal commentators the same as its conservative commentators. The network’s bosses have always been quick to punish conservatives for supposed infractions of the company’s policies, but, Jemele Hill aside, ESPN bosses have rarely done a thing about the liberals.
In 2016, for instance, former Chicago Bears great Mike Ditka was removed from ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown after he said that Barack Obama was the worst president in history. And former Boston Red Sox star Curt Schilling was similarly dismissed by ESPN’s bosses after several conservative-minded posts to social media, the last one concerning the debate over transgenderism.
The bias was so obvious to ESPN subscribers that a May 2017 poll found that conservatives were turning away from ESPN in droves.
Indeed, some may also point to Jones’ outspoken liberalism as the sole reason he seems to be a rising ESPN star. After all, according to Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis, it isn’t because Jones is a big ratings draw.
In fact, Travis recently reported that Jones’ ratings were terrible: “Sources @espn tell me @bomani_jones radio show being canceled because he’s lost over 90 affiliates & has worst ratings in ESPN radio history.”
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 2, 2017
Yet, despite this ratings news, Jones is getting a shot to go from ESPN radio to the big time on the network’s newest TV show. With all this, it seems that liberalism is highly rewarded on ESPN.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.