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A Black ESPN Anchor Just Went OFF On Trump And Kid Rock

Many people don’t think the real world of politics should be allowed to interfere with the fantasy world of sports.  ESPN Sports Center co-anchor Jamele Hill, however, isn’t one of them, even if her network disagrees.

Hill, a 41-year-old African American, has risen from reporter to  nationally televised sports broadcaster by freely giving her opinions on a range of topics, including sports.

On Monday, the Detroit native posted on her Facebook page that she was incensed by the musician Kid Rock, who has announced his plans to run for the Senate as a Republican, because of his use of a Confederate flag at his concerts. 

Kid Rock later insisted “I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE.”

That did not sit well with Hill.

Hill was not about to let any racist off the hook, so a few hours later she went on Twitter again and took on America’s chief racist and tweeter-in-Chief.

Hill was just getting warmed up. A minute later she tweeted again.

To prove her point, Hill pointed to Trump’s remarks after the Charlottesville torchlight protest by the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists groups, who the president defended by saying there was a moral equivalency between them and the peaceful counter protesters.

Two minutes later Hill charged that if he were not white, Trump would not have won the election.

Today, ESPN responded to Hill and the controversy surrounding her Twitter war with Trump and Kid Rock. The network has a rocky history with its announcers and commentators making political statements,

In April, ESPN replaced basketball commentator Sage Steele, who is bi-racial, just before the NBA playoffs after she made comments critical of NFL players who were seen kneeling during the national anthem. She also cut an interview with Win Butler from the band Arcade Fire short when he voiced his political opinions about last year’s celebrity All Star game.

In April, ESPN denied a claim by Sports Center anchor Linda Cohn in the New York Post that the layoffs of about 100 network employees due to slumping viewership was in part caused by too many political comments, which were turning off viewers.

In Hill’s case, ESPN said it “addressed” her tweets and made it clear to her they considered what she had done inappropriate.

Hill has her own history of controversy. During the 2008 NBA playoffs, she wrote a column for the ESPN website that explained why she could not support the Boston Celtics. “Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim,” she said.  That got Hill a one-week suspension from her job, and she later apologized.

The network was criticized because former coach Lou Holtz made a Hitler reference and was chastised but not suspended.

In 2009, Hill took flack from Universit of Kentucky fans after she said they would accept Charles Manson as their coach as long as he produced a winning team. She apologized.

It is unclear if Hill will receive any further punishment for her latest tweet rage against the racist president and the racist rocker-turned-politician, but it is clear she will continue to speak her mind.

Years ago, sports figures on and off the field who got into politics, whether as protesters or commentators, were criticized for bringing the real world into the world of games.

These days, in both sports and society, the line is blurred, and more people feel they have the right to speak out on a range of topics, and interfuse their political and social views into the sports coverage at will.  

In a democratic society, where free speech is still free (at least for now, despite Trump’s wish to rewrite the First Amendment), Hill is exercising her rights. The fact she did it on social media on her own time makes it even more acceptable to most people.

We have a president who is so full of outrage and poison, particularly when it comes to race and politics.  In fact, he ran a campaign largely based on the politics of race.  That’s had the effect of inspiring many people who oppose him to cross that line themselves and get more political, however, and Hill has the right to be one of them.

So far, it is worth noting that, unlike the earlier incidents, Hill has not apologized or been forced to apologize for calling out Trump for being a racist. 

Score one for Hill.

 

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