For the second time in recent months, ESPN’s SC6 host Jemele Hill is under scrutiny for opinionated political tweets. Sunday night, Hill posted on Twitter, “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about (Jerry Jones’) statement, boycott his advertisers.” Hill went on to list a few Cowboys’ sponsors, some of which are also ESPN sponsors.
John Ourand, of the Sports Business Journal, reported Jemele Hill would be suspended by ESPN for two weeks, sharing the following statement from the network:
Hill’s tweets were a response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proclaiming he will bench any players who “disrespect the flag.” Following President Trump calling NFL players a “son of a bitch,” Jones took a knee with his entire team before the national anthem of the Cowboys Monday night game. Players insist they are not disrespecting the flag, or the military, but attempting to bring awareness to racial injustice. Jones’s comments show NFL owners are eager to get the focus back on the game.
Last month, Hill, made strong statements regarding President Trump, calling him a “white supremacist” during a political debate with followers on Twitter. Many people called for ESPN to take action, including President Trump himself stating Hill should be fired. ESPN’s political guidelines for employees states to “refrain from overt partisanship,” and “avoid personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.”
The network chose not to take public action regarding Hill’s tweets last month, but they most likely felt pressure from their sponsors this time. ESPN did make it a point to call this a “second violation” in reference to Hill’s statements from last month.
Jemele Hill’s co-host Michael Smith will sit out Monday’s broadcast of SC6. Smith is expected to return Tuesday, a potential substitute for Hill has not been announced.