ESPN has a lot of people saying “something is up” after it suspended SportsCenter host Jemele Hill for two weeks. Specifically, they’re calling out the network for kowtowing to the NFL.
The suspension came after Hill sent out a series of tweets beginning on Sunday night responding to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ statement that he would bench any player that knelt during the national anthem.
Hill told fans upset by Jones’ position that only withholding your own money from Cowboys’ advertisers can affect change. Even though she clarified Monday morning that she wasn’t calling for a boycott, she still got suspended.
ESPN said in a statement that the punishment was due to a “second violation of our social media guidelines,” referring to that time the host called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter.
But her fans — and haters — were quick to see through ESPN’s statements on the matter and call the sports broadcasting giant out on its undying allegiance to powerful (and wealthy) professional sports leagues.
The move reminded many of Bill Simmons, the former ESPN sportscaster and wonder boy who in 2014 was suspended after calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar. Simmons was fired by ESPN a year later and moved on to HBO.
Jemele Hill proving what @BillSimmons taught us: Nothing gets ESPN more nervous than an employee going after the almighty NFL.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) October 9, 2017
Even Trump supporters, who want her fired (echoing the White House) were calling BS.
ESPN’s brown-nosing aside, many were quick to call out the double standard Hill faces.
A white POTUS can tweet a meme of him assaulting a woman with a golf ball, but a black woman can’t be thoughtful on Twitter about injustice?
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) October 9, 2017
But Jemele spoke truth to power and she’s out two weeks? Seems like a warning shot to me. The double standards are staggering y’all.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) October 9, 2017
Jemele Hill is held to a higher standard for her online behavior than the current President of the United States. Just think about that.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) October 9, 2017
— Nicole G. Van Cleve (@nvancleve) October 9, 2017
So what to do about ESPN’s shady motives? Some took Hill’s comment that “change happens when advertisers are impacted” to heart.
Shame on ESPN for suspending Jemele Hill for exercising her right of freedom of speech. Boycott the channel until she’s back on air.
— Simar (@sahluwal) October 9, 2017