Sage Steele Reveals ESPN’s “Hypocrisy” and Discrimination Against Her


Sage Steele, a longtime anchor of ESPN’s flagship show “SportsCenter”, has spoken out about her decision to leave the network after settling a lawsuit against it and its parent company Disney. Steele, who joined ESPN in 2007, filed the lawsuit in April 2023, alleging that the network had violated her contract, retaliated against her for expressing her opinions, and infringed on her First Amendment rights.

Steele’s lawsuit stemmed from a series of controversial comments she made on a podcast hosted by former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler in October 2021. On the podcast, Steele criticized ESPN’s vaccine mandate, saying that it was “sick” and “scary” to force employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19. She also questioned former President Barack Obama’s racial identity, saying that he chose to identify as Black despite being raised by his White mother and grandmother. She also made remarks about female sports reporters and sexual harassment, suggesting that women should dress more modestly and be more responsible for their actions.

Steele’s comments sparked a backlash from many viewers, colleagues, and critics, who accused her of being insensitive, ignorant, and racist. ESPN removed her from the air shortly after the podcast and issued a statement saying that they did not agree with her views. Steele apologized for her comments, but claimed that she was unfairly singled out and silenced by the network.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly on her podcast “The Megyn Kelly Show” on August 18, 2023, Steele opened up about her experience at ESPN and why she decided to leave. She said that she felt “disgusted” by the network’s “hypocrisy” and “double standards”, saying that there were different rules for her than for other employees who expressed their opinions on political and social issues. She said that she was constantly harassed and threatened by online trolls and even received death threats. She also said that she was disappointed by the lack of support from some of her co-workers and friends at ESPN.

Steele said that she settled her lawsuit with ESPN and Disney after months of mediation and negotiations. She did not disclose the terms of the settlement, but said that she was satisfied with the outcome. She said that she decided to leave the network so that she could exercise her First Amendment rights more freely and pursue other opportunities. She said that she was grateful for the many wonderful experiences she had at ESPN and was excited for her next chapter.

Steele’s departure from ESPN marks the end of a 16-year career at the network, where she became one of the most prominent and recognizable faces of “SportsCenter”. She also hosted other shows such as “NBA Countdown” and “Monday Night Football”. She was known for her professionalism, charisma, and passion for sports. She also faced challenges and controversies throughout her career, such as being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and undergoing a double mastectomy.

Steele has not announced what her next move will be, but said that she has received many offers from various media outlets. She said that she is looking forward to exploring new possibilities and expressing herself without fear or censorship.