ESPN’s Sage Steele has been on the air with the network since 2007, but only recently has she begun running her mouth to her own detriment. Now she’s been benched from her duties after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Front Office Sports.
But that’s not the only reason Steele has been sidelined. In recent weeks, the Sports Center anchor has also made ridiculously misinformed and outrageous comments about everything from vaccine mandates to former President Barack Obama’s racial self-identification and blaming women journalists themselves for being harassed based on the way they dress. How quaint a thought.
Steele was additionally pulled from hosting the espnW: Women+Sports Summit, where she was scheduled to lead a keynote conversation with Halle Berry about her new film, Bruised. Given her recent comments about Obama, we’re not sure how that would have gone.
Steele’s downfall began with a recent appearance on The Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast, where she ripped on ESPN’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. We all know how much companies love to be criticized publicly, particularly when it comes to a hot button issue such as vaccine mandates.
“I work for a company that mandates it and I had until September 30th to get it done or I’m out,” Steele told Cutler. “I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways.”
Tuesday, Steele issued an apology to ESPN and its parent company, Walt Disney Co. But by then, it was too late.
“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize. 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,” Steele said in a statement.
Steele was in boiling hot water from the likes of Jemele Hill and Keith Olbermann after incendiary comments (again on the Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast) about Obama after she asked why the former president would choose “Black” on a census form when his mother was white.
Steele tells Cutler that she has challenges with having to choose one race on the census form. Steele is mixed race Black and Irish/Italian.
“If they make you choose a race, what are you gonna put? Well, both,” said Steele. She adds that when she was told Obama chose Black, she ragged on the 44th president, saying: “Well, congratulations 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.” She then adds: “Listen, I’m pretty sure my white mom was there when I was born. And my white family loves me as much as my Black family.”
Let us pause for a moment to discuss the infamous “one-drop rule.” Obviously, Steele is unfamiliar.
According to LitHub:
“The US Census reveals much about the country’s perspective on race. It counts people according to how the nation defines people, and historically, those people counted as Black have been those people with any known Black ancestry. Blacks are defined by the one-drop rule. No other racial or ethnic group is defined in this way, nor does any other nation rely upon this formula; the one-drop rule is definitively Black and characteristically American.”
In the same interview, Steele talked about the harassment women journalists receive, something she blames on the women themselves and their decisions about what to wear.
“When you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you put that outfit on too,” Steele said. “We know what we’re doing when we put certain things on.
According to Front Office Sports sources, Steele’s removal may not be temporary. “This looks like it could be tracking to a buyout,” a source said.
It couldn’t happen to a less informed person.
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