Elle Duncan is a Disaster

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In a 2021 puff piece, ESPN anchor Elle Duncan said the key to SportsCenter is balance and appealing to the broadest audience possible.

She’s right. However, no one is more responsible for the lack of balance and narrow reach of SportsCenter than she is. Elle Duncan is a detriment to the ESPN brand. 

Duncan first made headlines in 2020 when she told a story about Kobe Bryant and branded herself around #GirlDad. While the sports world mourned Bryant’s death, Duncan made the moment about herself.

On Friday, despite saying #GirlDad isn’t about her, Duncan made it about herself once more. Using the phrase to garner video views, Duncan post a clip calling on fathers to speak out against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade so their daughters could have abortions in all 50 states.

Duncan says because her rant aired on her social media page and not on television that it is not reflective of ESPN. Of course, this is not true. If Duncan wanted to distance ESPN from her commentary, she would have recorded her thoughts at home on her smartphone. She didn’t. Instead, Duncan used ESPN’s studio, camera, and production team to make the clip.

She made a low-paid ESPN producer take time out of his day to record and upload this virtue signal:

For those curious, no one at ESPN provided a pro-life argument to counter Duncan’s position.

This is what Stephen A. Smith meant when he said ESPN must apply its so-called “no-politics” ban across the board.

“You can’t let one person get away with [talking politics at ESPN] and not let the other person get away with it,” Smith said. “The rules have to be for everybody.”

For context, while ESPN lets Duncan impersonate Rachel Maddow and Howard Bryant declare America a racist country on July 4, it suspended Sage Steele for expressing right-of-center political views on a podcast last year.


ESPN PR reps Josh Krulewitz and Mac Nwulu did not respond to requests for comment about the network allowing talents to spread left-wing talking points on company platforms.

Ultimately, ESPN remains afraid to address Duncan’s behavior, privately or publicly, at the risk of some media journalists finding out and accusing the network of silencing a woman of color. It’s no coincidence that Duncan became more toxic and reckless following the Maria Taylor scandal last summer, culminating with the New York Times falsely accusing ESPN of holding back black women. 

Nevertheless, this narrative scared ESPN. Duncan knows that and has taken advantage of the cowardice of her bosses.

Duncan knows she can say whatever and break whatever policy so long as ESPN management remains fragile.

Friday was far from the first day Duncan put the network in a poor position. In March, Duncan interrupted a college basketball game to denounce a Florida bill that bans the discussion of sex with young school children:

SportsCenter used to encourage young sports fans to buy jerseys and beg their parents to take them to a game on Sunday. Now, because of Duncan, SportsCenter encourages kids to talk about sex changes and abortions.

Jemele Hill calls Duncan’s monologues “exceptionally brave”, yet they are far from it.

Duncan only speaks out when the cause is advantageous to her own brand. She’s an LGBT advocate in the battle between the Left and Gov. Ron DeSantis but is silent on the NBA working with the United Arab Emirates to host a preseason game next season. In the UAE, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. Anyway, that didn’t cross Duncan’s radar because ESPN is a league partner.

Exceptionally brave, amirite?

Similarly, Duncan is such an LGBT advocate that she routinely engages on Twitter with MSNBC host Joy Reid, who posted several homophobic messages on her blog.

Duncan says she could not stay silent on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe because she’s just too pro-woman. Meanwhile, pro-woman Duncan regularly promotes her friendship with Howard Bryant, a man arrested for choking his wife in front of their 6-year-old child.

Wait, there’s more.

In June, Duncan celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX. She says she will always use her platform to empower female athletes — unless those athletes are the female swimmers who said they were voiceless when a biological male named Lia Thomas took opportunities away from them. Duncan has no comment on that situation.

Her advocacy is fraudulent and selfish.

Worst of all, Duncan has divided the locker room at ESPN. According to a 2020 Wall Street Journal report that ESPN will not refute, Duncan worked behind the scenes to freeze Sage Steele out of a social justice special because she did not consider Steele, a biracial woman, an accepted voice among the black community. 

That’s sick and, by definition, racist. Yet Duncan got away with it. Take note, aspiring ESPN hosts.

Any other network would reel Duncan in and demand she stop radicalizing the company on-air. But ESPN won’t say a word.

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro is more afraid of how Duncan would react if he held her to company policy than Duncan is of him. Pitaro is too afraid of hit pieces and tweets, to instill leadership at the network.

Pitaro’s cowardice is responsible for Duncan’s behavior.

The elevation of Duncan is one of ESPN’s most costly programming decisions yet. Duncan is the face of ESPN’s divisive culture that spreads from her colleagues to viewers.

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. I have been a “whatever is in-season” sports fan most of my BabyBoomer life …. mainly FB, BkB, Bsb but I could “talk” pretty much any sport … OK, EXCEPT the WNBA of course. … No More…
    About five years ago I realized I could get along just fine … more than just fine … without ANY of the in-studio talk shows on ESPN or FoxSports et al. Nothing they debated and ranted about “mattered” in my life … nor in my enjoyment of watching a sports event for its in-the-moment entertainment factor.
    That there actually are humans who watch a steady diet of those things each day is scary …

    • The only show I watch on ESPN is PTI as it is largely politics-free. But you are right. My DVR seems to pick up the last 2 minutes of Around the Horn before PTI begins. The few times I can’t fast forward fast enough, its almost always some political bullshit being espoused.

      Disney must not care about losing buckets of money, because if they fired all the leftist hacks and went politics-neutral on ESPN, they would be raking in the cash.

  2. Liberal Women on Sunday: Happy Mothers Day!

    Liberal Women on Monday: Birthing People!!!

    Liberal Women on Tuesday: Men should have zero opinion or say on abortion!

    Liberal Women on Wednesday: Wait! Men that approve of abortion stand up and shout from the rooftops!!!

    Absolutely exhausting and why the party is losing supporters in droves daily.

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