On Monday, ESPN decided to suspend anchor/host Jemele Hill for what it deemed the second violation of their social media guidelines. While the company hasn't yet confirmed the specific instance, the tweet(s) that likely led to Hill's two-week suspension were messages where she seemed to encourage her followers to boycott advertisers who work with the Dallas Cowboys. Hill's comments came after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he'd bench any players who kneel during the national anthem:
Hill later clarified that she wasn't calling for a boycott, but instead suggested that it was an option:
ESPN PR released a statement arguing the company's side on Twitter, and effectively laid down the law. "Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines," it said. "She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision."
Previously, as in less than a month ago, controversy surrounded The Worldwide Leader in Sports after Hill tweeted, "Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists." She also called Trump a "bigot," and stated that he's "the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime."
The White House actually took the time to respond to those charges, which first came via a tweet from Trump demanding an apology, followed by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling Hill's tweets a "fireable offense."
At that point in time, ESPN released the following statement:
Hill was not suspended for the initial violation.
And in what is undoubtedly a move of solidarity, Hill's SC6 co-host Michael Smith has made a "mutual" decision with ESPN that will see him taking a night off from his usual anchoring duties. Smith's decision follows a report from last month that said he wouldn't appear on The Six if ESPN opted to replace Hill for a night with another
black host after the White House called for her firing.
Smith will reportedly be back on the air Tuesday.