> Sage Steele sues ESPN over free speech rights, contract breach NFL

Sage Steele sues ESPN over free speech rights, contract breach

Sage Steele sues ESPN over free speech rights, contract breach

Apr 28
SW Creative
  • SportsWriters

ESPN SportsCenter co-host Sage Steele has sued the company over a violation of her free speech rights and contract breach.

Steele has been vaccinated and yet she made several controversial comments about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and former U.S. President Barack Obama during the “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast.

The anchor did not mention ESPN directly in her comments about the vaccine mandate other than to say, “but I work for a company that mandates it.”

Steele thinks to mandate such a regulation is “sick.” Additionally, she also questioned Obama’s racial background.

“I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his White mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me,” Steele said.

Her comments eventually led to her being removed from the air in October last year and relieved from major coverage assignments, such as the New York City Marathon and hosting ESPN’s annual summit celebrating women and diverse voices, as per the lawsuit via the Wall Street Journal.

ESPN would later reassign the 49-year-old to work at Masters telecasts and noon SportsCenter, but not until Steele alleged the company of contract breach and violating her free speech rights.

Apparently, Steele had sent a letter to the company’s HR department in February this year to file her complaints and then was offered to co-host The Masters Tournament.

The co-host stood strong with her points that fellow ESPN colleagues made their political statements both on-air and on social media without facing punishments.

“Sage is standing up to corporate America to ensure employees don’t get their rights trampled on or their opinions silenced,” Steele’s lawyer Bryan Freedman in a statement.

ESPN had released a statement in response to the suit, acknowledging Steele’s valuable contribution to the company.

“Sage remains a valued contributor on some of ESPN’s highest profile content, including the recent Masters telecasts and anchoring our noon SportsCenter,” reads the company’s statement.

"Sage is standing up to corporate America to ensure employees don't get their rights trampled on or their opinions silenced."

- Bryan Freedman

"Sage remains a valued contributor on some of ESPN's highest profile content, including the recent Masters telecasts and anchoring our noon SportsCenter."

- ESPN

"I work for a company that mandates it and I had until September 30th to get it done or I'm out,"

- Sage Steele

  • Sage Steele

    Sage Marie Steele is an American television anchor who is the co-host of the 12pm SportsCenter on ESPN.

    wikipedia
  • ESPN

    ESPN is an American international basic cable sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Communications .

    wikipedia
  • SportsCenter

    SportsCenter is a daily sports news television program that serves as the flagship program and brand of American cable and satellite television network ESPN.

    wikipedia
  • Jay Cutler

    Jay Christopher Cutler is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for 12 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Bears.

    wikipedia
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