Column: Sage Steele Won’t Listen. The Media Doesn’t Scare Her.

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If you randomly survey 30 Americans about Sage Steele’s comments that ESPN’s vaccine mandate is “sick,” you’d get a variety of reactions. One group would say Steele is right. Another would call her an anti-vaxxer and a MAGA-hat-wearing bigot, whom ESPN should fire immediately.

Then there’d be a group of people who wouldn’t care. They’d probably agree with some of Steele’s views, but not all of them. That’s how this works. Steele delved into controversial topics that should draw different responses from various groups throughout the country without judgment. That said, everyday Americans were not Steele’s judges — her peers in the media were.

The sports media bubble tweets out terms like “inclusion” to show they are on the right team. This team gives members great benefits and protection, at least until their time is up. Just ask Rachel Nichols. Yet they don’t practice inclusion themselves, they only promote it for other groups and organizations.

The sports media bubble is an exclusive group. Nearly every member votes one way, has one viewpoint, and has no interest in hearing the other side. So when anyone who shares a job title with them dares to disagree with them publicly, members of the bubble call him or her searchable keywords like “Candace Owens wannabe.”

They came after Steele, as though on command. Keith Olbermann, the author of Trump Is F*cking Crazy who once said that sports and politics should not be mixed, called for ESPN to fire her. Former ESPN anchors who often shared their political views on air, such as Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, and Michelle Beadle, also attacked Steele by liking certain tweets.

Even some of Steele’s current colleagues, like Sarah Spain and the idiot Mark Jones, expressed their disapproval of her. The list of disapproving industry voices from all the different networks goes on and on.

Unlike the rest of the country, there was no discussion, debate, or nuance among sports media’s hall monitors. Somehow, they all drew the same conclusion: Sage Steele was wrong and ESPN should fire her. This group was not happy to learn Steele is off-air only temporarily.

Suppose Cari Champion ever steps outside her elitist bubble. If she does, she’ll be stunned to learn that Americans across the country share Steele’s views on vaccine mandates. Steele did not advise anyone not to get the shot. Instead, she said a company should not force its employees to receive a vaccine they do not want, a perspective that splits the US on party lines.

And therein lies the problem. Hill, Olbermann, Mark Jones, and struggling online newspaper writers overrepresent one side of the discussion, while those who agree with Steele are afraid to express their support. Sage Steele represents as many Americans as Jemele Hill does, but Twitter users cheer Hill and demonize Steele.

Once “Sage Steele” appeared in Twitter’s trends section, blue checks and their followers knew what to do. It was time to attack viciously.

As always, Twitter users were not even sure why their leaders wanted them to maul Steele, but random tweets rewarded by Twitter’s algorithm gave them plenty of options. Some focused on Steele’s vaccine views, while others disparaged her for criticizing Obama or for suggesting that revealing clothing may contribute to sexist comments in the workplace (see Hill’s tweet below for details.) Either way, those who denounced Steele in the past week are in the club. Whatever that club is.

This mindset comes from fear. Americans are afraid of cancel culture. They are desperate to shield themselves from it and to fit in with the group they think will protect them. Everyone is looking for a protective shield. Many users and writers who bashed Steele were not actually upset with her. Most saw her controversial statement as an opportunity to protect themselves from cancellation.

In their minds, questioning Steele’s blackness — whatever that means — is proof that they are not racist. Those cards are handy, I hear. No one can call you sexist if you take Steele’s comments about women out of context, right, Stan Van Gundy?

Will that tweet protect Van Gundy when they come for him? He hopes it will.

It’s all performative. It’s a show. Sports media is an extension of the news media, just with more cowards and fewer independent thinkers. They follow a lead. And this week, the target was Steele.

Sage Steele broke a rule. She expressed opinions that her industry doesn’t want audiences to hear. That’s what this is about. Jemele Hill, Keith Olbermann, and the rest of them had already warned her once: her voice isn’t allowed. Yet Steele didn’t listen. She kept talking. Unlike so many others in her position, Sage Steele is not afraid of these pawns, and they still don’t understand why.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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  1. Cancel culture leftists have no power unless you let them. When you stand up to these cancel culture cretins they move on to the next target. That’s how it works. Like the hyena going after the lame antelope. They don’t want the fight. Never apologize to leftist parasites. Never.

    • That’s right. On every occasion whereby the person being attacked stands up, the Twitter mob and cancel culture move on to the next big fake “racism” or whatever else to take up their time. Giving in is the worst thing someone can do. Stand up to the bully just like we were taught as kids.

  2. Good for her. I hope she stays strong after she`s fired. Maybe she can start her own podcast. Obama is the biggest fraud, like pretty much everyone else on the left. He only wants to be black when it helps his cause. Funny how he was raised by two white women, but his black father was nowhere to be found. Another brother leaving his kids……..where have we heard that one before?

  3. Oh my God. Now Sage Steele is a victim? Now I know why she got dog walked for her comments about Obama. Sage Steele of ALL PEOPLE need to STFU when it comes to questioning anyone. The only thing worse than her stupid ass comment is the Neo Alt Right trying to Appropriate Sage Steele now. That shit is laughable AF. What’s wrong, Diamond and Silk nolonger together? Then Bobby had the nerve to try and defend Sage Steele by saying Whatever that Means”? Oh so now you have turned back into the dorky white dude who don’tknow shit now? You’re not the guy who posted the Tweet from Steele about Obama? You got a stiffy and everything. #Wankster #PanderPrincess

  4. Hey an article about a black woman thinking for herself. Oh and right on cue, here’s balls in your mouth trying to snatch her back up before she gets to far off the plantation. Way to hold it down homey. Fight the power! Oh wait now you down with the power. Keep fighting the man. Oh wait now you down with the man. I’m confused, is the white man stepping on your neck or have his arm around it. Let me know when you figure it out.

  5. This is why I am not on Twatter anymore. It’s a cesspool of leftist ideology. Any business who thinks they get publicity, helps their business, or heaven forbid uses it make decisions about their business is a fool. Do your self a favor and get off it.

  6. Funny, it’s commonsense to realize hot women dress provocatively to get get attention…does it mean they she get sexually assaulted? No, of course not. But playing games doesn’t change reality. As for Obama, I believe she was making an interesting point…remember the famous biracial guy that got in hot water for not saying he’s “black”? Tiger Woods…because folks like Ball Don’t Lie insist they must be something they really aren’t so they can use them for their own benefit. Nike did. And then, Vaccine mandates are stupid and wrong. I don’t know what else the woman believes but I’m not angry at her for these particular views.

    • Actually Tiger Woods wasn’t in “hot water” because no one really cares. He looks like a black guy to everyone else. But that isn’t your point. You and other VERY FINE PEOPLE jumped on Tuger’s comments because it made you feel good that he’s not “completely black” therefore making it okay because “the blacks can’t take over ALL THE SPORTS “…..LMBAO….That’s why we love sports “It’s the one place that we can get to you and you can’t run and hide”…. It’s really that simple…. ijs

      • Great good for Tiger, and then he ruined his like. Kind of like John Daly who the commonman loved because he was a redneck from Arkansas who didn’t give a fuck. Nike used Tiger just like they used your homeboy Kaepernick, LeFraud, Osaka, etc etc etc. That is where you are wrong, every white person I know doesn’t give two shits about race, its people like you who are hyper focused on race. Every critizism of black people by white people is not racism. You are too simple to understand nuance and logical arguments. STFU IJMFS

        • What? Racism? Let me let your stupid ass in on a family secret. The left loves sports because its the only place we can get to you where you can run and everyone around the WORLD will get to see what we have always thought. “What’s so special about you again? You seem soft as fuck”

          Come compete and don’t complain. Believe me when i tell you. We “CAN”T WAIT” in my Bart Scott voice. But i think you know that already. Its explains the paucity of conservatives in sports. #NotReplacedJustBiggerSmarterBetterTougher

          • The left loves sports? Really, then why are stadiums not filled with losers like you and elite white liberals? You aren’t that smart are you. I guess this is what happens when you live in mom’s basement your whole life. You don’t get out much to sporting events. As I said, it takes one helluva douche bag to take another person’s sports accomplishments like they are his/her own. You can’t even hit in tee ball.

  7. Jemele Hill’s opinion is relevant? Olberman should be committed and no one should ever care about the rantings of a crazy person. If I am to criticize Bobby it is find relevant people who are criticizing her.

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