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Jemele Hill | YouTube, ESPN

The Facts —

  • ESPN announced Monday night that it had suspended anchor Jemele Hill for two weeks for “a second violation of [the company’s] social media guidelines.”
  • After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the Dallas Morning News that any Cowboys who did not stand for the national anthem would not play, Hill responded with a series of tweets.
    • Hill released a series of tweets directed at Jones on Sunday.

 

  • Hill said Jones had “created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones.”

  • She continued, referring to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

  • She responded to a tweet showing Cowboys advertisers to boycott in protest of Jones’ statement and said:

  • She later added:

  • Hill previously tweeted about President Trump on 11 September, calling him a “white supremacist.”
    • ESPN CEO John Skipper said that ESPN would handle the situation surrounding Hill’s white supremacist tweet as a “private matter.”

“We had a violation of those standards in recent days and our handling of this is a private matter. As always, in each circumstance we look to do what is best for our business.

In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position.”

RELATED: Here’s How Each NFL Team Has Responded to National Anthem Protests

  • ESPN also said that, in the aftermath of the controversy regarding Hill’s 11 September tweet, “all employees were reminded of how much individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such action would have consequences. Hence this decision [to suspend her.]”

The Context —

  • After the Cowboy’s game Sunday, Jones told the Dallas Morning News that his players would not play if they did not stand during the national anthem.

“I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear…

But if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. You understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”

RELATED: ESPN President Writes Note to Employees on Jemele Hill Controversy

  • President Donald Trump called for the NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during the national anthem on 26 September after athletes from nearly all 32 teams kneeled during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner over the weekend.
  • Vice President Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday after players knelt during the national anthem.
    • Pence later tweeted, “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
    • Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis to attend the game.
    • CNN’s Jim Acosta reported that Trump and Pence spoke before the game to plan how they would react if there was a protest.
      • “They agreed if a protest took place [Pence] would leave,” one White House official told Acosta.
  • In 2011, ESPN reached a $15.2 billion, 10 year agreement with the NFL for the broadcast rights to Monday Night Football, according to the New York Times.

Hill and the Politicization of ESPN —

“Internally, there’s a feeling among many staffers — both liberal and conservative — that the company’s perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing products. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some.”

  • In April 2017, Jim Brady followed up his previous work with another article about ESPN’s updated on air policy, “Like it or not, ESPN isn’t sticking to sports.”
    • He explained that, by allowing anchors to interject political opinions, ESPN was reflecting the intersection of sports and culture, arguing that neither could exist in a vacuum.

“Those of you who have not held your tongue about ESPN’s move away from an all-sports-all-the-time mantra also should not hold your breath waiting for a change.
ESPN has made it clear: It’s not sticking to sports.”

“There’s a certain crop of people who’s not trying to see ESPN get more ethnic, more gender-balanced. As a discredit to all of us, they use words like too ‘liberal’ or too ‘politically correct.’ As if there’s ever been this widespread movement in television to just give black people and women shows. No, it’s been the exact opposite.”

Hill’s Supporters —

  • Rev. Al Sharpton tweeted “ESPN’s suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered. ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!”

  • Hill’s cohost on SC6, Michael Smith, did not participate in Monday night’s program in response to Hill’s suspension, according to TheWrap.
  • Actress Rosie O’Donnell tweeted:

Jones’s Supporters —

  • President Trump tweeted:

  • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, originally an advocate for players kneeling in protest, changed his position on the issue because he believes that President Trump has “changed the whole paradigm of what protest is,” according to the Miami Herald.

“Its a different dialogue today. Whenever you’re dealing with the flag, you’re dealing with something different. [the President] has changed that whole paradigm of what protest is. I think it’s incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to stand and salute the flag.”

William Spruance contributed to this report.

The Whim News Team
AUTHOR

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

  • Billy Vegas

    guess she found out the hard way the 1st amendment doesnt protect you from your employer.

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