ESPN’s Sage Steele says Black anchors excluded her from ‘race’ special

    The controversial journalist claims she blackballed by her colleagues for not being an 'authentic voice' for the culture.

    (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

    ESPN anchor Sage Steele is said to be feeling some way about being excluded from a recent special the network aired on race. 

    Steele claims she was blackballed by her Black colleagues for not being an  “authentic voice” for the culture, Wall Street Journal reports.

    She lodge a complaint to ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro last month, noting her disappointment that she was not chosen for the network’s June 24 special “Time for Change: We Won’t be Defeated.”

    Read More: ESPN staffers say racism permeates the network

    The special was billed as “exploring Black athletes’ experiences with injustice,” and was hosted by SportsCenter anchors Elle Duncan, Michael Eaves and Jay Harris along with college football reporter Maria Taylor.

    According to Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal, Steele claims Duncan and Eaves blocked her from participating in this show. 

    Here’s some key tea from Flint’s wsj.com piece:

    “Ms. Steele said colleagues told her she was considered for the special by the executive in charge, Michael Fountain, until two of the other on-air personalities involved, Elle Duncan and Michael Eaves, complained, saying Ms. Steele wouldn’t be accepted by what they considered the Black community, according to the person familiar with her account to management.”

    Steele reportedly made clear to Pitaro that the network fosters a divisive work environment, according to the insider.

    Steele, who has been critical of Black Americans in the past — in addition to slamming Colin Kaepernick during his kneeling movement — is receiving little sympathy from Black Twitter. 

    It’s worth noting that Steele has also made clear on several occasions that she is a “proud bi-racial woman” (her father is Black and mother is white).

    She also previously caught heat for allowing a white, male studio guest to caresses her coiled hair.

    Back in 2016, Steele clapped back at critics of her seemingly anti-Black rhetoric, theGrio previously reported. 

    “Instead of praising or uplifting each other, way too many people of color choose to tear down, mock and spew hatred at other blacks who feel differently, think differently, or make decisions that are different from theirs. That, my friends, is hypocrisy at its best. Or should I say, its hypocrisy at its worst,” she wrote in a Facebook post. 

    “You don’t get a hall-pass just because you’re a minority. Racism is racism, no matter what color your skin is. So when you call me a sell-out, or a coon, or an Uncle Tom, or any other derogatory term to let me know that you disagree with me, you lose every ounce of credibility with those whom you deem racist at the drop of a hat,” she continued.

    Read More: UFC fighter asks to touch ESPN anchor Sage Steele's hair during interview

    “Does racism against African-Americans/people of color exist? Of course! It disgusts me more than anyone knows and as far as we have come, there is still such a long way to go. I have personally felt it on too many occasions to count, and I will continue to fight it for me, my family and everyone else out there who truly does believe in diversity,” she added.

    “But the fact that so many of us actually have to fight back against other within our own race, is incomprehensible and frankly, it’s pathetic. So go ahead. Keep on keepin-on with that double-standard. That hypocrisy. Just know that every time you do, its sets us back even further, and I refuse to be a part of it,” Steele wrote.

    Subscribe to theGrio’s Dear Culture podcast on Spotify, Apple and Stitcher.

    Share: