Jemele Hill will come back from her two week suspension by ESPN on Monday, returning to her normal spot alongside co-host Michael Smith on SC6. Hill’s suspension came after she took to Twitter and went off on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ policy of not allowing players to play if the kneel for the anthem, with the biggest point of issue being her discussion of Cowboys fans being able to deliver him a message by not watching games or supporting sponsors.
This was just weeks after she found herself at the center of not only in the sports media world, but also in the political world thanks to her tweets about Donald Trump. While Hill explained she wasn’t suggesting a boycott by Cowboys fans, even suggesting it as an option was enough to earn her a suspension considering ESPN’s massive rights deal with the NFL and likely some sales deals with those sponsors.
In the days following her suspension, there were tons of people calling into question ESPN’s integrity for bowing in the face of potential pressure from the NFL. Many also pointed to the network asking for Hill’s voice and opinions to shine through on her show, but then getting mad when that spilled over onto Twitter.
Since her suspension, Hill has been mostly silent, with the exception of a tweet thanking Smith for his incredible support. There have been rumors that Hill was frustrated with the network and that she might not be long for ESPN, but on Saturday she spoke with a TMZ reporter at the airport in a lengthy conversation and shut down any talk of her and ESPN not being on the same page.
“Look, me and ESPN are fine,” Hill said. “It’s just like, I know it’s great conjecture to think about what might happen. We’re fine. We’re in a good place. I’m happy to be back at the network, and so, yeah, I don’t have much to say beyond that.”
Hill also confirmed that she would be coming back to Twitter and would still be herself (although, one has to think she’ll have a bit more of a filter).
“Oh absolutely, I’m coming back to Twitter,” Hill said. “I want people to understand this. There were never any restrictions place on me on Twitter. So I’ll be back on Twitter and be my usual self.”
She also was asked what she thought of the suspension and whether it was reasonable. While she said it doesn’t matter what she thinks, Hill added that it was absolutely deserved after her Trump tweets because it did violate company policy:
“So, here’s how this works. It doesn’t really matter what I think,” Hill said. “It matters to people, but here’s the reality. ESPN acted what they felt was right, and I don’t have any argument or quibble with that. I would tell people absolutely after my Donald Trump tweets I deserved a suspension. I deserved it, like absolutely. I violated the policy. I deserved that suspension. Going forward, we’ll be in a good healthy place. It’ll be fine and I’m looking forward to it.”
She also stood by those comments on Trump, and reiterated that her apology is to the company for putting them in a weird spot and not for the content of what she said about the president.
“The only thing I’ll apologize for is I put ESPN in a bad spot,” Hill said. “I’ll never take back what I said.”
These are all the right things for Hill to say, and they at least appear to be her genuine feelings on the matter. We’ll have to wait and see in the coming months if she’s telling the truth about still being as active and opinionated on Twitter and if she is, how ESPN handles that and if the relationship between personality and network truly is fine.