ESPN suspends sports analyst


Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

We live in a country that holds an ESPN host more accountable than we do our own president.

That sounds strange, doesn’t it? To be more consumed in a person giving their opinion on the issues that concern them in regards to the United States of America, more than we care about our president’s comments.

On Oct. 9, ESPN’S “SC6” host Jemele Hill faced suspension after a response via Twitter to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ comments regarding his players kneeling during the national anthem in a protest against police brutality.

“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones stated after his team lost to the Green Bay Packers according to ESPN.

Jones wasn’t going to tolerate the kneeling of his players, which is strange considering he kneeled with his team on Sept. 25 versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Though he kneeled before the anthem played, so in all actuality, it wasn’t “disrespecting” the anthem, I suppose.

People across the country were outraged by Jones’ statement. His tone was one of dictatorship and essentially stripped away the players’ First Amendment right. In what way is it fair to deny someone the freedom to protest an issue that is important to them?

“If fans really are that upset about what JJ [Jerry Jones] and Stephen Ross [Dolphins head coach] have done,” Hill said via Twitter, “don’t call the players sellouts, but you’re watching every Sunday. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement boycott his advertisers.”

This was the final straw for Hill, and as a result, she was suspended for a second violation of ESPN’s social media guidelines, though they have yet to state how she violated the guidelines.

Before these series of tweets, the Michigan State alum was given a warning due to her comments on Twitter about President Trump, in which she called him a white supremacist.

Her comments ignited rage at the White House. “That’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed in a press conference on Sept. 13.

That statement was alarming and took me by surprise. Since when is speaking truth a fireable offense? As I scroll through my Twitter feed and hear songs made in rejection of Trump, Hill was simply tweeting the exact same thing as everyone else who has that same impression of Trump.

Her suspension after her comments about Jones is even more startling. It doesn’t make sense, but then again it does when you take a look at the country we live in. A woman, a woman of color at that, speaking her mind about white men: the worst thing ever.

It isn’t right, that the president of the United States is allowed to speak in an outrageous manner every week and isn’t held accountable, but she is. He’s the president, a decision maker. Hill is allowed to have an opinion on the social issues that are going on in America, just as we all are.

Why is she being held to a higher standard?

I had an opportunity to meet Hill this past summer in July and what I learned from that meeting is that she is unapologetic and speaks the truth, no matter what. If people look into her statements they will see how much truth they hold, and how educated her statements are.

Her suspension makes me doubt America and the progress we are supposed to be making. When someone is penalized for their opinion, especially a topic the majority of the U.S. is discussing, it saddens me.

As a woman of color, I now look at myself and wonder if I will be penalized for my opinions and feelings. Am I not allowed to speak my mind and convey what I feel without being penalized?

It seems as if I will be regardless. That’s just the world we live in.

But I thank Jemele for her courage and willingness to speak her mind no matter what. In a world where women, black women especially, are told to suppress their feelings, she does not and it’s important that women and girls all over the world know that they have a voice.

It’s okay if people don’t agree with you, but if you live according to others your entire life, you will never be your true authentic self. Jemele Hill is authentic, she is strong, and she uses her platform to bring awareness to the issues at hand, that can ignite change in the world.

Though it is unfair such a burden has been placed upon her for speaking her truth, it is important to be yourself regardless or else these issues go unattended.