Sage Steele Suing ESPN, Alleging Violation of Free Speech

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ESPN anchor Sage Steele is suing the network and its parent company Disney, alleging that ESPN retaliated against her for exercising her free speech rights, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Last September, Steele appeared on a podcast with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and questioned Disney’s vaccine mandate.

“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways. I just, I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney, I mean a global company like that,” Steele told Cutler.


On the same podcast, Steele, who is biracial, talked about the U.S. Census form asking her to pick a race.

“If they make [me] choose a race, I go, ‘both,'” she said. “Barack Obama chose black and he’s biracial.’ And I’m like, ‘Congratulations to the president. That’s his thing.’ I think that’s fascinating considering his black dad was nowhere to be found and his white mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m gonna do me.”

Steele’s comments drew public backlash, both internally and externally, and ESPN forced Steele to issue an apology and temporarily benched her, the lawsuit in Connecticut states.

“ESPN also retaliated by taking away prime assignments and failing to stop bullying and harassment by Ms. Steele’s colleagues, the suit alleges,” says the WSJ.

The suit also alleges:

— ESPN has “violated Connecticut law and Steele’s rights to free speech based upon a faulty understanding of her comments and a nonexistent, unenforced workplace policy that serves as nothing more than pretext.”

— ESPN took actions based on “inaccurate third-party accounts of Steele’s comments, and that the network did not immediately review the actual comments or the context in which they were made.”

In essence, Steele, the only openly conservative voice at ESPN, and her team have accused ESPN of punishing her for expressing opinions on social topics, even as other ESPN employees with left-leaning views weigh in on them as well.

“Sage is standing up to corporate America to ensure employees don’t get their rights trampled on or their opinions silenced,” said her lawyer, Bryan Freedman.

Here’s what OutKick founder Clay Travis said about the topic:

This is a developing story.
Check back with OutKick for updates. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest media topics as well as trending sports, cultural and political stories.

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

Previously, Burack was a writer at The Big Lead where he covered similar topics. He also hosted an eponymous podcast where he interviewed several personalities such as Joe Tessitore, and Adam Schefter.


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