It would not be the slightest stretch to call ESPN a left-leaning entity.
Look no further than Caitlyn Jenner somehow winning ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2015.
That being said, it doesn’t mean ESPN is completely devoid of opposing viewpoints.
Frequent “First Take” guest and columnist Will Cain is one of the more prominent conservative personalities on ESPN.
Then there’s “SportsCenter” host Sage Steele.
Steele has referred to herself as “old school” and espoused matching values.
“When I turn on ‘SportsCenter,’ [partisan politics are] not what I want to hear. As a viewer I want to see the [game] highlights, I want to hear from [Dodgers pitcher] Rich Hill [who had just lost a no-hitter in the 10th inning]. That’s what I want as a viewer. That’s what I believe most viewers want when they turn to ESPN,” Steele once said on an episode of “The Dan Patrick Show.”
“It’s about the games, it’s about the highlights, it’s about let’s show some standings, let’s talk about what’s coming up tonight,” she said. “I’m just old, I guess. Old school.”
And while Steele, sticking to her “old school” sports journalism, has never really discussed President Donald Trump, the two, at the very least, share similar sentiments about NFL anthem protests.
Steele had a pointed response to Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans after he chose to protest the anthem.
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) November 14, 2016
That’s a stark difference in philosophy to Steele’s fellow ESPN host Jemele Hill, who notoriously accused Trump of being a “white supremacist.”
In an interview with Refinery29, Steele was inevitably asked about the backlash Hill got when she went after Trump.
Steele was less than sympathetic.
“I think Jemele [being criticized] is a completely different story [from ESPN reporter Sam Ponder, who was attacked first by Barstool Sports] in that she put that onto herself of her own volition,” Steele said.
Steele is right. Hill’s attack on Trump was virtually unprompted and highly inflammatory.
Considering the views that Steele has spoken up about in the past, her lack of sympathy for Hill is hardly surprising.
Hill, for her part, was dismissive of Steele, saying, “I’m not in the business of policing my colleagues opinions because I rarely care that much.”
As is my policy in general, anything i have to say regarding a colleague, I will say to them privately. Also: I’m not in the business of policing my colleagues opinions because I rarely care that much. https://t.co/4bXSUWadqS
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 31, 2018
Steele has bounced around ESPN for several years now. She has worked with “First Take” and “Mike and Mike,” among other programs, and currently is the lead host of “SportsCenter on the Road.”
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