In a series of disjointed tweets this morning, Donald Trump yelled about the NFL, immigration, healthcare, ESPN, then promoted a book someone wrote about him, and then yelled at the New York Times and Bob Corker a little, in that order.
As someone with ADD who currently has five different beverages going, I can relate. However, I also don’t think I should be president!
In one of the tweets, Trump claimed that ESPN’s ratings have tanked on account of the fact that they employ Jemele Hill, a SportsCenter anchor who tweeted that “his rise was a direct result of white supremacy” on Twitter. This is, of course, total bullshit, as are all his comments about “ratings.” Ratings are down because of streaming and cord-cutting, not because viewers are sad about the people on television being mean to Trump.
The Trump White House has made it their personal mission, for reasons, to get Hill fired from ESPN. In a press conference this September, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Hill’s tweet about Trump being the result of white supremacy was a “fireable offense.” It is not traditionally the purview of the White House to make HR decisions for cable stations, but this is far from a traditional White House.
Hill, after dealing with weeks of bullshit from both the White House and her own network, was suspended yesterday for two weeks for criticizing Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Twitter for saying that any player kneeling would not be allowed to play. This is a very fair thing to criticize, and ESPN is ridiculous for having suspended her.
What did Hill say that was so incredibly controversial? Well, she suggested that Jones’s policy put his players in a bad position, which it does.
And then she noted that one way to fight what Jones was doing would be to target his advertisers.
It’s likely that these tweets are the ones that got her suspended, and not because ESPN was sad about them being “controversial.” ESPN also makes money from these advertisers, and people boycotting them because of Jerry Jones would cost them money, too. Hill was clear in a later tweet that she was not calling for an NFL boycott, but it’s likely ESPN considered the damage done.
ESPN had previously attempted to suspend Hill over the Trump tweets, but was unable to do so as her colleagues made that impossible by refusing to host SportsCenter without her, or fill in for her while she was on suspension. So instead of suspending her, they simply released a statement saying that she was “allowed” to have opinions, but that it was bad of her to have opinions while representing ESPN.
“Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”
Neither those tweets nor the most recent ones were followed up by “And this is also definitely the opinion of ESPN.”
ESPN is a sports network. It therefore profits off of the work of the very football players taking a stand against police brutality, the players Jemele Hill is standing up for. If it were not for these players, ESPN would likely not exist; its advertisers would probably have to settle for spots in that Monk marathon your mom is watching RIGHT NOW. Donald Trump is waging a culture war on the men standing up for their brothers and sisters against systemic racism and police abuse in the United States; it isn’t just a big issue in sports right now — Trump has made it a big issue for the entire country. ESPN prohibiting its anchors from speaking up about it, lest they upset either Donald Trump or Jerry Jones, is just as gross as Jerry Jones banning his players from kneeling, like he owns them.