Critics Slam ESPN for Suspending Jemele Hill

By Sameer Rao Oct 10, 2017

ESPN on-air host Jemele Hill encountered backlash after denouncing "White supremacist" president Donald Trump‘s response to the violent White hate rally in Charlottesville last month. The fallout prompted Hill to apologize for making her employer "a punching bag." Nearly two weeks later, the network has suspended Hill for new tweets criticizing a National Football League (NFL) executive’s threats against players who protest racial injustice.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets on Sunday (October 8) that he would prohibit any player "disrespecting the flag" from playing in future games. The outlet says that Jones referred to player protests that picked up steam last year, after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during pre-game national anthems in protest of racist police violenceDeadspin adds that Jones was surprised that protests did not "go away" after he and other NFL team owners who previously donated to Trump responded to the president’s call to fire protesting athletes by linking arms and kneeling with players two weeks ago. 

Hill responded to these comments with several tweets, suggesting that fans might get Jones to change his position by boycotting the team and pressuring advertisers: 

Hill’s last tweet also references the Miami Dolphins, whose coach Adam Gase told players to either stand for the anthem or not come out for it

CNN reports that these tweets violated ESPN’s new policy preventing staffers from expressing personal beliefs that could be connected to the outlet. ESPN cited Hill’s previous apology in a tweeted statement yesterday (October 9) that confirmed her suspension:

Hill’s supporters then rallied to her defense, criticizing the network for censoring her in the interest of avoiding conservative backlash: 

Hill, who is a Black woman, has not publicly responded to the suspension as of press time. After President Trump attacked Hill on Twitter today, her fellow ESPN journalists Josina Anderson, Kelly L. Carter and Kevin Merida each issued their own supportive tweets: