When athletes, or media personalities, enter politics into the equation, it’s often a toxic mix.
Take the case of Colin Kaepernick. His decision to kneel during the National Anthem was derived from his personal beliefs regarding politics in the United States. Now he is seeing repercussions from that as no NFL teams will pick him up.
Now, ESPN reporter Jemele Hill is in hot water for going on a political Twitter rant. A co-anchor of “SC 6,” a show on SportsCenter with one of television’s most sought after 6 p.m. time slots, Hill is in trouble after sending out multiple tweets calling current President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
As a media personality with a lot of clout in the sports world, many people know Hill for her work and personality. But she is now faced with losing her job.
She has not been subtle on her thoughts regarding the president or racism issues that still remain in the U.S. However, Twitter is not the outlet for Hill to be displaying these thoughts in, and while the reasons may be there, it is unprofessional as a media personality to call the president a “white supremacist” to 700,000 followers and millions more who have seen and engaged with her account.
Whether people like him or not, Trump is the president. Whether one condones his actions or condemns them, he is the current representation of the country. To those who are on opposite ends of his stances, both know that he is the president. Some hate it and others do not, but at the end of the day he is still the one in charge. It is unprofessional to say those things about him, especially on social media.
Hill is a sports reporter who should stick to sports. Her followers look to read tweets and articles by her about sports, and on television, viewers would turn to political channels if they wanted to hear about politics. But they are on a sports channel and the biggest one in the world at that.
The biggest problem is that what she tweeted reflects poorly on ESPN and she was not clear in saying it was her personal belief. It brings up a delicate subject about what ESPN and those who associate with Hill and the network think about the president. In a world where being politically correct is becoming more important, those arguing on Hill’s behalf would agree because of all that is seen in the media regarding Charlottesville, Va., as well as past dispositions on the president.
But, what Hill said is not appropriate. It is a shame that her beliefs cannot be put out like many others, but she is held on a very high pedestal as a prominent reporter on one of television’s biggest networks. She should be fired.
If ESPN were to stand by her means that the network condones the language she used, which is also wrong.
Sadly, this is what makes this situation so tender. It really does appear to be a lose-lose situation, and given where the nation stands right now in its divided political and social beliefs, as seen through the vast differences on both sides of the white supremacy argument, it really is disappointing that Hill is in the middle of this mess.
But that is exactly where she stands. ESPN should make the decision and fire her, but that, unfortunately, will do more harm than good.
Matt Lamb is a broadcasting and visual media major from Howell, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MattS_Lamb.