ESPN’s Jemele Hill wrote a first-person post for The Undefeated offering some reflections on becoming a part of a national controversy in the wake of criticizing President Donald Trump on Twitter. Hill, host of SC6, offered an apology but was not subject to further discipline despite calls for her termination from the White House lectern.
In the piece, she recalls a tearful meeting with ESPN president John Skipper at the apex of the story’s prominence.
It was the first time I had ever cried in a meeting. I didn’t cry because Skipper was mean or rude to me. I cried because I felt I had let him and my colleagues down.
Hill also admits, once again, that Twitter wasn’t the proper vehicle to share her feelings while explaining her motivation for airing them.
I can’t pretend as if this isn’t a challenging time in our country’s history. As a career journalist, I can’t pretend that I don’t see what’s happening in our world.
I also can’t pretend as if the tone and behavior of this presidential administration is normal. And I certainly can’t pretend that racism and white supremacy aren’t real and that marginalized people don’t feel threatened and vulnerable, myself included, on a daily basis.
The anchor’s reflection and critique does not end at her own doorstep, though, as Hill has pointed words for those in the Clay Travis camp who revel in advancing the notion ESPN is a bastion of liberal groupthink.
the most difficult part for me has been watching ESPN become a punching bag and seeing a dumb narrative kept alive about the company’s political leanings.
If we’re keeping it all the way real, that narrative is often pushed by the folks in the media who benefit most from that notion and all the attention that criticism of ESPN brings.
There’s no question political and politically-adjacent conversation has become more ubiquitous through ESPN since Hill’s tweets ascended to an issue of national importance. Trump’s comments criticizing NFL and NBA players helped shift the conversation under the purview of talent paid to give opinions on sports topics.
The controversy seems like a relic of the past considering the monumental shift over the weekend, but, judging from this insight, was quite significant for the person at the center.