8 Times ESPN Let Liberal Pundits Get Away With Things It Won't Let Sage Steele Do

ESPN anchor Sage Steele is suing the network, alleging that it retaliated against her for exercising her free speech rights during a podcast with Jay Cutler in 2021.

Steele says ESPN benched her, gave her an unofficial suspension, for questioning the company's vaccine mandate and commenting on Barack Obama identifying as black.

Steele, the only openly conservative host at the network, alleges that ESPN uses selective enforcement on disciplinary issues. She's right.

Here are eight examples:

Jemele Hill

While at ESPN, Jemele Hill called then-President Donald Trump a "white supremacist."

Contrary to what Hill defenders are tweeting today, ESPN did not discipline Hill for this comment. Instead, ESPN suspended her when she later encouraged sponsors to boycott the NFL, an ESPN partner.

“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hillwrote. “If you feel strongly about statement, boycott his advertisers.”

ESPN allowed Hill to call Trump a "white supremacist," but benched Steele for questioning Obama. Ahh.

Dan Le Batard

Critics of Steele say ESPN disciplined her, in part, because she questioned a company policy. If so, that's also an example of selective enforcement.

In 2019, Dan Le Batard called out ESPN's ban on political topics because he wanted to bash Trump over comments that Trump made about Democrat representative Ilhan Omar. Le Batard said on air that his bosses and their policies were "cowardly."

Le Batard went on to call Trump an "old white man," in case anyone didn't know.

Le Batard violated network policy and roasted his network on air. ESPN didn't mind. He faced no repercussions.

Howard Bryant

In October, Howard Bryant called his employer ESPN racist for not having enough non-former athletes who are black men as analysts on studio pregame shows.

For context, there are only two non-former athletes in analyst roles on ESPN studio shows: Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon, both of whom are -- get this -- black men.

Bryant also assaulted his wife. All good at ESPN, though.

(Fire him for idiocy.)

Mark Jones

ESPN certainly doesn't violate Mark Jones' free speech rights. This year, ESPN re-signed and gave Jones a salary raise after:

That's called freedom of speech at ESPN. Congrats on your extension, Mark.

Jalen Rose

Speaking of Jacob Blake, ESPN host Jalen Rose interrupted an NBA halftime show this past fall to condemn the police for "killing" Jacob Blake.

However, the police didn't kill Blake. He's still alive.

Liar or dummy?

JA Adande

Here's a moment of free speech for you: In February, JA Adande appeared on ESPN airwaves to explain why the CCP torturing, raping and killing Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China is not as bad as red states requiring voter ID.

ESPN wouldn't even comment on Adande's remark. In fact, ESPN promoted the segment on Twitter. It's called free speech.

Failed TV and Radio Host Bomani Jones

The network felt that Steele put the company in a bad position following her comments. Well, she should have instead called all white people racist, like her colleague Bomani Jones.

“I just don’t know why people try to make this far more complex than it is,” Jones said about America and professional sports. “What’s the problem? White people.”

What's more, Jones tanking both ESPN television and radio to all-time lows in the ratings is far more egregious than anything Steele has said.

Maria Taylor

ESPN offered Maria Taylor a 200% pay increase last summer after she tried to extort money from the company by leaking a privately recorded phone call of Rachel Nichols discussing diversity at ESPN.

ESPN begged Taylor to re-sign, even though she held onto the Nichols call for over a year and falsely accused its social team of sexismand made life hell for her co-workers.

But Sage Steele is the bad teammate at ESPN. Got it.


Sage Steele has a point. ESPN selectively chooses when to allow employees to exercise free speech and criticize the company. And for some reason, Steele is not allowed to do either, while her many colleagues are.

Get 'em, Sage.

Written by
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.