Sage Steele Sues ESPN for Violating Her Free Speech Rights

Sage Steele
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ESPN anchor Sage Steele is suing the network for allegedly violating her free speech rights by illegally retaliating against her for comments she made on Jay Cutler’s podcast last year.

In September of last year, the SportsCenter anchor found herself at the center of controversy when she denounced the company’s vaccine mandate as “sick” and questioned former President Barack Obama’s blackness over his being raised by his white family.

“If they make you choose a race, what are you gonna put? Well, both,” Steele said. “Barack Obama chose black and he’s biracial…congratulation to the President, that’s his thing, I think that’s fascinating considering his black dad is nowhere to be found but his white mom and grandma raised him, but okay. You do you. I’m gonna do me.

“Listen, I’m pretty sure my white mom was there when I was born,” she added. “And my white family loves me as much as my black family.”

Steele also took a shot at the #MeToo movement when she said that women should take responsibility for the clothes they wear around men and talked about how she developed a thick skin interviewing athletes throughout her career that would often make passes at her.

After intense social media backlash, Steele apologized.

“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” she said at the time. “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.”

However, Steele’s lawsuit claims that ESPN (a Disney subsidiary) forced her to apologize and then “retaliated against her by taking away prime assignments and failing to stop her colleagues from bullying and harassing her, as well as taking action based on ‘inaccurate third-party accounts’ of her comments before reviewing their context,” according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit also claims ESPN’s censuring of her amounted to selective enforcement regarding employees that speak out on political and social issues.

ESPN said in a statement that “Sage remains a valued contributor on some of ESPN’s highest profile content, including the recent Masters telecasts and anchoring our noon SportsCenter.  As a point of fact, she was never suspended.”


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