Sports

Jemele Hill’s ESPN Colleagues Reportedly Rejected Efforts To Keep Her Off Wednesday’s SportsCenter


The drama surrounding ESPN and SportsCenter host Jemele Hill continues to rage on three days after her tweets about Donald Trump went viral. Hill’s comments sparked tons of conversation and controversy with ESPN issuing a statement on the matter and the White House press secretary went as far as to call for her firing.

While Hill will reportedly not face any punishment or suspensions from ESPN, there were reportedly discussions about whether she should take Wednesday night’s SC6 broadcast off.


According to Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress, ESPN was looking to remove Hill from the Wednesday night broadcast and replace her. However, Hill’s co-host Michael Smith wouldn’t do the broadcast without her while colleagues Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan both refused to take their place for the evening, per Gibbs.

However, two sources familiar with the situation told ThinkProgress that this was not the original plan.

ESPN originally tried to keep Hill off the air on Wednesday evening, but Smith refused to do the show without her, the sources said. Both sources also said that producers reached out to two other black ESPN hosts, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, to ask them to serve as fill-ins for the show — but Eaves and Duncan did not agree to take the place of Hill and Smith, either.

Gibbs also referenced an ambiguous, angry tweet from Eaves from Wednesday afternoon that may have been in relation to the ESPN request.


ESPN has denied Gibbs’ report and said no replacements were ever asked to fill in for Hill or Smith.

“Yesterday was a hard and unusual day, with a number of people interpreting the day without a full picture that happened,” Rob King, the senior vice president for news and information at SportsCenter, told ThinkProgress. “In the end, ultimately, Michael and Jemele appearing on the show last night and doing the show the way they did is the outcome we always desired.”

“We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said via email after this story was published.

It’s yet another twist in the seemingly never-ending saga, and shows how difficult a time ESPN has had with how to handle the situation.

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