Sports Tidbit for these week Sports/Entertainment blog.
There are many different voices out there in the media world with lots of different political and ideological opinions. They all have the right to their voice. If a commentator voted for Trump that’s ok, even if I vehemently disagree with that person and their vote. We have a first amendment right to freedom of speech, which does have some limitations and but generally I’m ok with telling someone we can disagree on thing A, or B, but we can still be cool.
But there’s a voice in Sports television, in particular ESPN, that I became familiar with as they covered Washington D.C. area teams many moons ago at Comcast Sportsnet a fledgling local sports network, covering everything Wizards, Caps, and then Redskins. Sage Steele was a beautiful young black female reporter that looked great on camera, knew her sports, and came off very credible and likeable for the most part. Now she’s several years into her tenure at ESPN, and her conversative leanings have been voiced and documented. While many might cancel her just for revealing that she’s conservative I believe in everyone having a right to their opinion, even if it doesn’t align with mine.
If someone is a gun enthusiast and believes wholeheartedly in the second amendment, or they don’t believe in abortion, or they disagree with me on tax policy. Those are positions within the norm of political differences. We can argue about these things and have a beer and go home still being friends. But this isn’t the type of conservative that Sage Steele is. She’s disgusted with the vaccine mandate that ESPN has put in place to keep their workplace safe. Steele also has an issue with the way some women who aspire to be in broadcasting dress.
She doesn’t want to be associated with women who dress a certain way, or give them career advice. The Sports broadcasting is a looks business and when you watch ESPN or any other major sports outlet watch the way studio shows are filmed when women are the hosts versus when men are hosts and see if you notice the difference. Spoiler alert, sports studio show producers have their female hosts in short skirts and heels and use a lot of wide shots to show female anchors from head to toe. Where when men hosts they are put behind a desk. Sage Steele has benefited from that system, in being an attracting female sports anchor, so it was a little ironic that she has an issue, or wants to police how other women dress.
The comment that Steele also got into hot water over was over the mixed race of former President Barack Obama. President Obama is a half black and half white, but most would agree that he carries the appearance of a light skinned black man, that’s how he carries himself, that’s how he talks, and that’s how he has been identified, and categorized publicly. Sage Steele is a child of a mixed race marriage herself and seems to be on a crusade for people of mixed marriages or relationships to identify with both parents not self-identify as black or white. Many of the comments were made on Jay Cutler’s “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast. ESPN has apparently taken Steele off the air for a week.
The Network also released this statement “At ESPN, we embrace different points of view – dialogue and discussion makes this place great. That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed, respectfully in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies. We are having direct conversations with Sage and those conversations will remain private.” I’ll be the last person to tell anyone to stick to sports or tell someone what lane to stay in.
But I believe that at some point a move off of ESPN’s platform may be what’s necessary for Sage Steele as ESPN skews towards the left and her views. Steele would not be the first opinionated commentator to leave ESPN. Will Cain a conservative sports host left the network not long ago as well as on the opposite side of the spectrum Jemele Hill left network not long after comments made about then President Donald Trump. Free speech swings both ways, you can say what you want, but your employer, and other stakeholders listening can also respond how they want. ESPN responded by asking Sage to have a seat. Let’s see what happens from here.