ESPN has suspended sports commentator, Jemele Hill, for two weeks following several posts she made on her Twitter account. In a statement released Monday afternoon, ESPN stated Hill was suspended due to “a second violation of our social media guidelines”.
Hill “previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet,” ESPN said in a statement. “In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”
On Sunday, Hill took to social media to comment on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones having said that any player who “disrespects the flag” will not play referencing NFL player protests that take place during the national anthem. Hill said that “Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts.”
She later said, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”
This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers. https://t.co/LFXJ9YQe74
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
“Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott,” Hill tweeted. “But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.”
ESPN’s Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/JkVoBVz7lv
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 9, 2017
The suspension comes weeks after Jemele Hill was at the center of controversy when she called Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter. Many called for the firing of Jemele Hill with the White House coming into the mix. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying during a briefing that Hill’s comments about Trump were “a fireable offense by ESPN.”
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“I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make,” Sanders said at the time in response to a question about Hill.
Though many supported Hill’s freedom of speech, Hill would eventually express remorse for her tweets.
“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” Hill said last month. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
Shortly after last month’s controversy, ESPN chief John Skipper sent a memo to staffers in which he said that “ESPN is about sports” and that it is “not a political organization.”
Bob Iger, the CEO of ESPN’s parent company Disney, expressed sympathy for Hill after her “white supremacist” tweet.
“I’ve not ever experienced prejudice, certainly not racism. It’s even hard for me to understand what they’re feeling about this, what it feels like to experience racism,” Iger said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment summit last week. “So I felt that we need to take into account what Jemele and other people at ESPN were feeling at this time. That resulted in us not taking action on the Tweet that she put out.”
Fellow EPSN staffer Lindsay Czarniak took to Twitter to express her support for Hill:
The suspension of my friend @jemelehill is sad and disappointing on a number of levels
— Lindsay Czarniak (@lindsayczarniak) October 9, 2017
Photo : (John Salangsang / Invision)