September 17, 2017
Sports and politics collided head-on last week when ESPN's "SC6" anchor Jemele Hill blasted President Trump as a "white supremacist" in a statement from her personal Twitter account.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
The White House, strongly condemning Hill's comments, suggested the network should fire her for stepping out of her element. Others found it ironic and hypocritical of Trump, who once drove the birther movement against former president Obama, to expect consequences for Hill when he faced none in a similar television role at the time.
Unwilling to fire Hill, ESPN released the following statement.
Hill apologized for bringing negative attention to the company but reiterated that she was expressing her own personal beliefs.
The incident proved reminiscent of the downfall of former MLB ace and current Breitbart radio host Curt Schilling, who lost his job at ESPN last year after posting a disparaging Facebook meme about transgender people. While the content of the two messages differed in important respects — and Schilling had a history of questionable political statements — ESPN in this case chose forbearance with Hill.
On Saturday morning, CNN anchor Michael Smerconish invited Schilling onto his show to talk about the controversy. The conversation quickly went off the rails when Schilling directed his ire at CNN—and Smerconish went off on him. Watch the interview below.