ESPN anchor Sage Steele was suspended following controversial comments about vaccine mandates, women journalists, and former President Barack Obama, CNN reports.
Appearing on Uncut with Jay Cutler, Steele expressed her frustrations at ESPN for establishing a vaccine mandate for all employees.
“I respect everyone’s decision. I really do. But to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways,” she said. “But I have a job, a job that I love and, frankly, a job that I need.”
She went on to question why former President Barack Obama identifies as a Black man even though he was raised by his white mother.
“If they make you choose a race, what are you gonna put? Well, both,” Steele said. “Barack Obama chose Black and he’s biracial…congratulations to the President, that’s his thing. I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad is nowhere to be found but his white mom and grandma raised him—but okay, you do you. I’m gonna do me. Listen, I’m pretty sure my white mom was there when I was born. And my white family loves me as much as my Black family.”
Steele also said that young female journalists should accept some blame for harassment from men because of their style of dress.
“When you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too,” she said.
Hill, who found herself in a similar situation with ESPN after calling former President Donald Trump a white supremacist, in a tweet, she described Steele’s comments as “clown behavior.”
After ESPN’s decision was made to remove her from SportsCenter and all the other shows she appears on, Steele offered an apology for her remarks.
“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” she said. “We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”
The network also addressed Steele’s comments in an official statement.
“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view—dialogue and discussion makes this place great,” the statement read. “That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies. We are having direct conversations with Sage and those conversations will remain private.”
Steele has garnered a reputation for her conservative views in the past, Deadspin reported. Previously, she challenged Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for sitting during the anthem.
“Hey, @MikeEvans13_ look up the definition of the word DEMOCRACY & remember this pic while kneeling/exercising your right to protest #perspective,” she tweeted.
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) November 14, 2016
Shortly thereafter, while addressing a crowd in Florida, she said that the “worst racism I see comes from Black people.”
“There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing,” she explained.
No timetable has been given for Steele’s return to ESPN.