Sage Steele given break from ESPN for her remarks over Barack Obama
Sage Steele has been removed from ESPN due to controversial comments.
The host is one of the channel’s most well-known SportsCenter anchors, but viewers won’t be seeing her for the next few days.
Steele’s leave comes after she appeared on a podcast and made several controversial comments about former President Barack Obama’s racial background, sexism and how women journalists dress, and ESPN’s COVID-19 policies and vaccine mandate.
As a result, Steele will miss a week of her regular noon SportsCenter slot. This month, she also is removed as the host of the 2021 espnW: Women + Sports Summit.
The comments were made by the host of the podcast Uncut With Jay Cutler.
Here’s what she had to say:
Regarding the racial background of former President Barack Obama:
Steele found it “fascinating” that the former president chose the word “Black” on the census.
“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing.’ I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
Concerning female journalists:
Steele said she rejects mentor requests from aspiring women hosts if she deems them to be dressed inappropriately.
“So when you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too,” Steele said. “Like, women are smart, so don’t play coy and put it all on the guys.”
Regarding ESPN’s vaccine requirement:
“I respect everyone’s decision. I really do. But to mandate it is sick, and it’s scary to me in many ways,” Steele said “I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney. I mean, a global company like that.”
Following Steele’s podcast appearance, ESPN confirmed that they are in talks with her.
“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,” the outlet said in a statement, per Variety.
“We are having direct conversations with Sage, and those conversations will remain private.”
According to The Hill, ESPN also provided an apology from Steele.
“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” Steele said. “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.”
Below is Podcast she appeared on.