Sage Steele, a veteran ESPN sports anchor who has become famous in recent years for her positions on hot topics such as coronavirus vaccines, has left sports giant Disney.
Steele, who joined ESPN in 2007, said on social media that she recently settled a lawsuit with her employer after she was suspended from 2021 over comments she made on an outside podcast about her vaccinations, how women dress, and the lineage of former President Barack Obama. .
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“After successfully settling my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so that I can exercise my First Amendment rights more freely,” said Steele. “I am grateful for the many great experiences over the past 16 years, and I am excited for my next chapter!” Steele alleged in a 2022 lawsuit that Disney and ESPN retaliated against her for comments she made during the podcast, which was hosted by Jay Cutler, and that she took high-profile assignments. The companies were accused of violating their contract and violating their rights to free speech.
ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways. “We thank her for her many contributions over the years,” the network said in a statement.
ESPN is cutting costs as its parent company battles declining viewership and advertising for its line business. The company owns Cut ties with a number of prominent broadcasters and analysts, including Keyshawn Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jalen Rose. Disney is among the biggest spenders on sports rights — one of the reasons ESPN has been so successful for decades — but it will run into mounting problems if it doesn’t keep an eye on costs, especially as customers once automatically subscribed to ESPN via cable or satellite are looking for another way to get their sports fix. .
Steele, known for his stints on “SportsCenter” as well as “NBA Countdown,” has been providing uncut commentary for years. I showed a social media comment to an NFL player protesting during “The Star-Spangled Banner” for example. I told diverse in 2017 You try to ignore the anger in places like Twitter. “The more people talk about me, the stronger I become and the easier it is for me not to really care and not really care,” she said in an interview. She won’t let social media rage distract her from her job or her family. “I don’t have enough hours a week for those two things.”
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