The firestorm surrounding Jemele Hill’s tweets about Donald Trump being a white supremacist and ESPN’s response had seemingly finally died down, but the SportsCenter host found herself back in hot water with her employer due to her Twitter account on Sunday.
Hill took to Twitter on Sunday to rip Jerry Jones and the Cowboys after the Dallas owner said any player that took a knee during the national anthem wouldn’t be allowed to play. Hill noted Cowboys fans could send the message to Jones that his comments wouldn’t be tolerated by not buying merchandise or watching games.
Hill tried to clarify her comments on Monday.
While Hill’s tweets about Donald Trump caused plenty of backlash for ESPN, tweeting about not watching the NFL, a league in which ESPN has a massive rights deal with, is apparently an even bigger no-no at the Worldwide Leader. Unsurprisingly, the network released a statement on Monday afternoon announcing Hill had been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of their social media policy.
While ESPN points to a second violation of the policy as the reason for the suspension, one has to think the call for fans to stop watching Cowboys games or buying from advertisers (with some likely also have ESPN partnerships) was the real issue here. There will be plenty that come after ESPN for this move, and there are certainly valid arguments for criticizing ESPN for how it bends to the NFL’s will.
However, Hill herself noted in her tweets to Cowboys fans that large corporations or billionaire owners are almost always going to do whats best for the bottom line and make adjustments accordingly. For ESPN, the NFL affects its bottom line more than anything, so this can’t come as much of a surprise.