Renowned broadcaster Sage Steele has bid adieu to ESPN, marking the end of her 16-year journey with the company.
The departure comes following the resolution of a lawsuit that stemmed from Steele’s comments on a podcast. Steele expressed her intention to exercise her First Amendment rights more openly in the wake of the settlement.
The lawsuit was ignited by Steele’s remarks on the “Uncut With Jay Cutler” podcast, where she criticised ESPN’s COVID-19 vaccination policy and questioned Barack Obama’s racial identity. These comments stirred a media frenzy and led to her suspension from the network.
Steele’s legal action contended that ESPN reacted hastily, misrepresenting her statements, and subjecting her to undeserved professional repercussions. The lawsuit also alleged workplace harassment and unequal treatment.
ESPN and Steele have reached a mutual decision to part ways, with the company acknowledging Steele’s contributions over the years. Her departure marks the conclusion of a chapter that saw her anchoring “SportsCenter” and hosting “NBA Countdown” from 2013 to 2017.
Steele’s departure and lawsuit highlighted broader issues around freedom of expression and workplace dynamics. Her decision to exit the network signifies a desire for greater autonomy in expressing her opinions.
Throughout the legal proceedings, Steele remained engaged with ESPN, continuing her on-screen appearances. While her lawsuit sought unspecified damages, the focal point was her right to free speech and fair treatment in the workplace.
In a statement, ESPN maintained that Steele’s departure was the result of a mutual agreement. The company thanked her for her contributions and wished her well in her future endeavors.