Sage Steele sues ESPN, says she was ‘sidelined’ for opinion on COVID vaccine mandate – New York Daily News

She thought it was worth a shot.

ESPN broadcaster Sage Steele sued her employer Thursday, claiming the company “sidelined” her after she spoke about her hesitation to get the COVID vaccine.

Disney, which owns ESPN, required all employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 30, 2021. Steele said late that September that she got the shot. She remains employed by ESPN.

“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do,” she said on Jay Cutler’s podcast. “But to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways.”

In the lawsuit, Steele claimed that after her podcast appearance, ESPN removed her from prime assignments and shunted her to the side, USA Today reported.

Steele called ESPN’s move “a knee-jerk reaction” and said the company “relied on the misleading characterizations of her comments, bowed to groupthink and forced (her) to publicly apologize and suspended her for a period of time in October 2021,” according to NBC News.

In addition to her mandate criticism on the podcast, in a conversation about her one Black parent and one white parent, Steele questioned Barack Obama’s Blackness.

“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing,’” she said about the former president selecting “African-American” on the Census. “I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”

Steele also suggested that her numerous media colleagues who have been sexually harassed by sports figures were on some level asking for it.

“When you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments,” she said to Cutler. “But you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too. Like, women are smart, so don’t play coy and put it all on the guys.”

ESPN responded to the lawsuit by saying: “Sage remains a valued contributor on some of ESPN’s highest profile content, including the recent Masters telecasts and anchoring our noon SportsCenter,” according to NBC News. “As a point of fact, she was never suspended.”

Leave a Comment