ESPN host/sports journalist Jemele Hill will be leaving the company on Sept. 1, according to multiple reports.
Veteran sports media reporter Richard Deitsch of The Athletic also confirmed the news:
As first reported by @JimMiller, @jemelehill is leaving ESPN. She approached management. Hill and @KelleyLCarter have a production company — Lodge Freeway Media — so that will be part of her post-ESPN world. She leaves ESPN in September after wrapping up some stuff.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 26, 2018
Hill was most recently a writer for The Undefeated and an on-air commentator for ESPN, and her departure comes six-and-a-half months after she left the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, which she had co-hosted with Michael Smith for the previous 12 months.
The outspoken Hill garnered controversy in late 2017 for remarks she had made about President Trump and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
In September 2017, Hill tweeted that Trump was “a white supremacist,” which resulted in her being attacked by conservatives and supporters of the president. Even the White House called for her to be fired. ESPN decided not to take action at the time.
Then, one month later, Hill criticized Jones after he told his players that they wouldn’t play if they did anything that was “disrespecting the flag.” Hill suggested that those opposed to Jones’s comments should boycott the franchise’s advertisers.
That criticism garnered Hill a two-week suspension by the network.
As Steinberg notes, Hill’s departure comes as ESPN’s new chief Jimmy Pitaro has made a point of emphasizing the network’s role as “an apolitical chronicler of the sports world.”
While this won’t necessarily affect how ESPN’s sports news journalism/newsmagazine programs Outside the Lines and E:60 are presented, Pitaro seems to want the network’s reporters and commentators to steer clear of making their political stances public, and we have been “very clear with employees here that it is not our jobs to cover politics, purely …”