Sage Steele, an ESPN anchor for the past 16 years, has become a familiar face on the network. Steele was the anchor of ESPN’s flagship show “SportsCenter”, and also covered the NBA, Masters, National Spelling Bee, and other sports. She co-hosted Miss America Pageant for ESPN’s sister channel ABC, and she even guest hosted “The View” a few times.
Steele is a conservative who has never hidden her views. For years, her political views had no bearing on her job at ESPN. However, in 2021, she spoke out on a podcast about two issues: the COVID-19-mandated vaccines, and Barack Obama’s claim to be black, despite being biracial.
She claimed that the suspension had caused her to lose out on some lucrative assignments. Steele said the network also excluded her from a race-themed special because other ESPN personalities did not “view her as an authentic black voice.” She sued ESPN last year for violating her First Amendment rights to free speech.
The lawsuit claimed that ESPN violated Connecticut law and Steele’s right to free speech, based on a faulty interpretation of her remarks and a nonexistent and unenforced workplace policy that is nothing more than a pretext.
The lawsuit claims that Steele was suspended because of inaccurate third-party reports of his comments and that ESPN did not review them immediately or in the context they were made. Steele’s lawyers also pointed out that other ESPN personalities had made political comments without any repercussions. But we all know from which side those statements originated.
Steele and ESPN settled the lawsuit, which marks the start of a brand new chapter. The settlement is not public, but the network released a statement that stated, “ESPN has mutually agreed to part with Sage Steele.” We thank Sage Steele for all of her contributions over the years.
Steele added a few more words on X/Twitter. She called it a “Life Update.”
She posted: “I have left ESPN/Disney after successfully settling my case so that I can exercise more freely my First Amendment rights,” “I am thankful for all the wonderful experiences I have had over the last 16 years, and am looking forward to my next chapter.”
Steele is sure to succeed, no matter what she does next. She is a talented and bright broadcaster with a promising future. I will be cheering her on to continue making an impact.