Jemele Hill has reportedly expressed her beliefs on President Trump and race relations again. As Michael McCarthy of Sporting News passed along, MSNBC released this transcript snippet from an interview of Hill conducted by Al Sharpton that will air on MSNBC Sunday morning at 8 a.m. ET:
SHARPTON: How do you feel when you heard the president in a State of the Union address still take a shot at people that are standing up about injustices?
HILL: I wasn’t surprised and I think this is going to be — a probably, a constant thing for the president because it’s a very easy dog whistle, it’s low hanging fruit, it’s what I like to call “racial pornography,” because it’s a way to stoke his base.
Whether this is a true and accurate statement or not is besides the point as far as it pertains with Hill’s long-term career at ESPN. The company is making it clear at every level that they don’t want people who work there publicly saying something like this. Hill’s past experience here has been well-documented. She called Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. A little while later, she got a social media make-up call suspension from ESPN for saying boycotts against brand-specific Cowboys sponsors would be effective. Finally, she expressed mild regret for the platform she used to say so while never apologizing for the substance of her comment.
As far as the letter of the law goes, it’s tough to know whether this is a violation of ESPN’s official social media policy. Presumably, they gave permission for her to appear with Sharpton on MSNBC. What did they think would happen? Further, this was said on television, not social media. Finally, these comments plausibly are under the purview of her new role as a contributor to The Undefeated after leaving the doomed SC6.
But again that’s beside the point. She knows that the company doesn’t want her to be this overt in her wording about Trump. Therefore, it appears that she has made a conscious decision that if the company is so uncomfortable with one of its talents making these remarks they can just fire. It’s a line in the sand. She believes what she believes and isn’t going to refrain from saying so. If it comes down to it, she’s okay working somewhere else.
McCarthy notes that an ESPN spokesperson said, when asked about Hill’s MSNBC interview, that “The anthem is a sports issue.” So, it doesn’t appear as though her ESPN tenure will end imminently — also, weren’t Jerry Jones and the Cowboys also a sports issue? — but she continues to make it clear that if it comes down to it her priority is voicing her unfiltered opinions over remaining at the company for the long run.