ESPN, arguably the most recognizable sports broadcasting network, has recently shown their true colors in the political world. On Monday, September 11th, ESPN host Jemele Hill tweeted out, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists”. Several others were quick to jump on Hill’s bandwagon in support of her comments including Kathy Griffin and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This was not the first time, and will probably not be the last, that Jemele Hill used her platform in sports to try to push her agenda in politics.
Politics in Sports
We see more and more the reoccurring theme of politics invading the world of sports. In recent memory, the biggest display of this was in Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. His protest tore the NFL in two. More players started sitting on kneeling, while others expressed their disgust for such actions. It was at this time two things started happening: fewer people were watching football, and ESPN’s ratings went down. Last year the number of people watching NFL football plummeted. A poll found that 26% of people that stopped watching football did so because of the National Anthem protests. Arguably, polls like this indicate that most people do not like the worlds of politics and sports to be so intertwined. Most individuals like to enjoy their sports for what they are, and if they choose so, view politics separately and at a different time.
Following the insane rhetoric of Jemele Hill, ESPN issued a statement saying that her opinions do not necessarily represent those of ESPN and that her actions were inappropriate. Hill suffered nothing other than possibly a stern talking to…if even that. Again, this is not the first time ESPN has been in the political spotlight. ESPN laid off outspoken Republican reporter Britt McHenry who says that during her time at ESPN she was often reprimanded for favoring right-wing agenda. Retired MLB star and World Series MVP Curt Schilling was also fired for expressing his political views. Therefore, it’s a fair question to ask why Jemele Hill was not fired for her statement. In fact, this is not the first time Hill has been reprimanded by ESPN. In 2008, a comment she made relating Celtics fans to Hitler got her suspended. Yet still she will remain on the staff and without a suspension this time.
Why? Frankly, it is because of the obvious left-wing agenda of ESPN. They are only interested in terminating the staff that possess right-wing views even if they do not make drastic statements like the ones spewing from Jemele Hill. If there is good to see in this it is the fact that viewers and all those paying attention are catching on and ESPN’s ratings are dropping. Only time will tell if this one-sided bias continues to infiltrate the world of sports.