The more that journalists question and speak out against COVID-19 mandates, the more they get silenced. And ESPN has decided to silence their reporters in a major way. They’ve decided to have “direct” and “private” conversations with one of their very own reporters Sage Steele after controversial comments she’d made regarding the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, former president Barack Obama, and female reporters.
ESPN said in a statement that they embrace “different points of view” and believe that the diverse dialogue and discussions are what make this place great. They add, however, that they expect those points of view to be “expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies.” Basically, say what you want and not what you want.
Steele recently shared on Twitter that she hasn’t been too particularly happy with ESPN’s vaccine mandates and that it will be the first fall in 15 years that she won’t be on the sidelines for College Football. While she says her heart hurts posting this, she is at peace with her decision. Steele said her most important role is being a mother and that she has decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while she and her husband try for a second child.
“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly. I understand vaccines have been essential in the effort to end this pandemic; however, taking the vaccine at this time is not in my best interest. After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first,” Steele wrote.
Steele also shared her decision on Jay Cutler’s podcast following the vaccine mandate, adding that it is “sick” and “scary” to mandate it in many ways. She said she had until September 30 to get the vaccine or be out, but that she wasn’t surprised since working for the Disney-owned sports channel. Disney has also implemented harsh vaccine mandates for all of its workers.
Steele was also recently criticized for comments she made regarding Obama identifying as “Black” on the recent census. She shared with Cutler that having to identify as a single race has been frustrating because she is biracial. She said she is both African-American, as well as Irish and Italian, but found Obama’s use of the race card to be frustrating.
“Well, congratulations to the President, that’s his thing. I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad is nowhere to be found, but his White mom and grandma raised him, but okay. You do you. I’m gonna do me. Listen, I’m pretty sure my White mom was there when I was born. And my White family loves me as much as my Black family,” Steele said.
Steele received criticism for the comments and was accused of thinking that Obama shouldn’t identify as Black because he didn’t have a relationship with his Black father. But Steele was simply reiterating the use of the race card in the nation today and the problem she has as a biracial individual. She said in a statement that she knows her comments have created controversy for the company and that it’s more critical than ever to communicate “constructively and thoughtfully.”
That was enough for Steele to be removed from the air and she won’t appear again for at least a week. She’d also tested positive for COVID-19 at the time, with ESPN and Steele both agreeing that it was “appropriate for her to take some time off.”
Companies are depending on the fear of those clinging to their jobs in exchange for a vaccine. You know things are bad when you put your health first, speak your mind, and then your job tells you to take some time off. But that’s a ‘woke’ company for you. Trying for a second child is probably the only reason Steele couldn’t be terminated.