Not too long ago Jemele Hill joked about the idea that someone would boycott ESPN over politics. A few months later she’s earned herself a suspension from ESPN for calling on NFL fans to boycott sponsors of the Dallas Cowboys, which also serve as a huge revenue stream for the network she works for.
The SportsCenter host participated in a panel discussion at a Hashtag Sports conference in June during which she said that “sports have always been political” and mocked the idea that a sports fan would stop watching the NFL or cancel ESPN over their political views. (Trump On Jemele Hill: “It’s No Wonder ESPN’s Ratings Have ‘Tanked'”)
— Rich Greenfield (@RichBTIG) September 15, 2017
“You know this, as someone who covers sports business,” Hill told Daniel Roberts of Yahoo Finance during the panel discussion.
“A lot of these people say they don’t watch anymore, I’ll say ‘OK, so who’s your favorite college football team? So when that game was on our network you didn’t watch? Probably not,” Hill said laughing. “OK?”
“The thing is you know you can’t call up cable and say ‘You know what? I hate ESPN, cancel it all.’ Yeah, that’s not happening,” Hill added.
And for the NFL fans who said they would refuse to watch the NFL because of Kaepernick and the national anthem protest, she responded, “Sure, ’til your team comes on.”
The truth of the matter though is that ESPN ratings are in decline, and as President Trump suggested, it’s likely due to some of their hosts like Hill imposing their own politics on their audience. After all, that’s what landed her on suspension isn’t it?
See you in two weeks, Jemele.