ESPN has veered directly into politics.
People looking to the network for escapism from current affairs will have to find another outlet.
Now a ESPN commentator refused to work with one colleague for a ridiculous reason.
ESPN anchor Sage Steele was furious with the network after she was forced to get the vaccine as a condition of employment.
Steele was vocal about her frustration when she appeared on a podcast with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.
Steele said, “I work for a company that mandates it and I had until September 30th to get it done or I’m out…I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways…I just—I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney—I mean a global company like that.”
Now Steele is suing the company for how she was treated after her statement about vaccines.
For example, NFL analyst Ryan Clark refused to work with her after the comments.
“ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark refused to appear on-air for a scheduled segment last year with his co-worker Sage Steele because she had exercised her right to free speech and spoke out against the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Steele alleges in a lawsuit filed against ESPN and parent company Disney. According to the suit, Clark told ESPN executives on November 12, 2021, that he would not appear on an episode of the 12 pm SportsCenter unless the network replaced Steele, the anchor of the show, with another host. And when ESPN declined, Clark did not show up for the appearance.”
Steele has also been treated as a pariah at the company by many because of her conservative views.
Steele openly supported Donald Trump, and criticized Barack Obama during the same Cutler interview.
She was even suspended for her comments.
Steele claimed in her lawsuit:
“Defendants made no efforts to correct inaccurate and harmful reporting about their employee, Steele, and took no steps to correct or discipline coworkers who, based on the same inaccurate, third-party accounts, took it upon themselves to harass and condemn Steele for expressing an opinion. Though Defendants based their punitive actions against Steele on a supposed workplace policy barring political commentary, they repeatedly have ignored commentary from other employees – both before and after they penalized Steele for expressing her opinion – that was more political and more controversial than the comments made by Steele, and that in some cases was overtly disrespectful to Steele.”
Clark is one of the many “woke” employees at the company.
He once made the insane argument that the NFL was analogous to a slave plantation.
If he truly believed that, he shouldn’t be profiting from the league as a paid television analyst for the sport.
Steele is one of the few open conservatives who has survived at ESPN, but it’s clear that forces inside the company want her gone.