Jemele Hill continues to double, triple and quadruple down on her tweets from September calling President Trump a “white supremacist,” a “bigot” and “unfit to be president.”
Last month, Hill joined former NFL running back Arian Foster’s podcast called Now What? and told Foster “I said what I said and I don’t take it back,” Hill said on the podcast. “Like I ain’t getting a retraction. No, I never have and I never will.”
This week, Hill went on Richard Deitsch’s podcast where she was asked about her tweets from September and using Twitter as a medium for her opinions in general. Deitsch phrased the question differently than others, not asking if she regrets sharing her opinions, but does she regret the “specific language” she used?
“I have more regrets about the medium. Most of us find out every day in some form or fashion that Twitter is not necessarily a place for nuance. Twitter’s not even really a place where if you want to have some extensive conversation, especially about race, Twitter’s not set up for that. It’s built on quick thoughts, okay, and that’s not something to have quick thoughts about. So I don’t really have any regrets about the language that I used, because I do think that there is some evidence to at least where we can question some of the things that he’s said and done, and for that matter, examine why there are clearly large groups of people, women, people of color, who feel they’re very vulnerable at this time and under attack. I don’t regret what I said or even the language that I used.”
“It’s just the where. The where is problematic because, of course, there are these problems that are going to be created because of who I represent and who I work for. And that’s just not a conversation that people are accustomed to someone in my position having, especially not in an open forum. And I’ve often wondered, if I were on a panel discussion at Harvard and said the same thing, would it have resonated the same way? Because I do think now that Twitter’s become what it’s become, it’s an easy place to search tweets and create headlines and create sort of this think piece-like environment for other media entities.”
“And I think timing is everything, and I regret the timing too, because there is, and I’ve mentioned this before and talked to you about this before, the timing of especially where and how ESPN is being viewed by a lot of people, those are things that in a forum like that, it’s just not going to go over well. So, as I’ve said before, I don’t take anything back from what I said, I’ve been very consistent in that message, but I do think the environment lends itself to it drawing more attention than it was probably worth.”
ESPN doesn’t seem to take issue with Hill discussing her opinions on different podcasts, so had she never tweeted her thoughts on the president, would it have become such a mainstream hot topic? If she joined a podcast in September and said she felt President Trump was a white supremacist, it’s hard to imagine the opinion would have gone ignored.
The focus for ESPN regarding its talent sharing their political opinions has been about Twitter. Opinionated tweets spread faster than an opinionated thought shared on a podcast. Shortly before John Skipper resigned from ESPN, he held a meeting in December with ESPN employees to discuss the networks social media policy.
ESPN employees are expected to act “civil, responsible and without overt political or other biases that would threaten our or your credibility with the public.” The network also reserves “the right to take action for violations of these principles.”
The interesting question is what happens when Hill shares a political opinion in the future, whether it be on Twitter or another social media platform. ESPN hasn’t told her to stop discussing her previous tweets, but would they take issue with future tweets offering new beliefs?
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling
“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”
In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.
During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.
“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.
ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.
NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.
Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.
One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.
Michael Irvin Removed From NFL Network Super Bowl Coverage
“I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds.”
A complaint from a female to NFL Network has caused the network to remove Michael Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage.
NFL Network did not comment on the nature of the complaint or the allegation of any impropriety by Irvin, simply stating Irvin would not be a participant in coverage of the event from Arizona.
“Michael Irvin will not be a part of NFL Network’s Super Bowl LVII week coverage,” said NFL Media Vice President of Communications Alex Riethmiller in a statement.
Irvin claimed the interaction happened during a brief moment Sunday after having dinner and drinks with former Cowboy defensive back Michael Brooks.
“This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby,” Irvin told The Dallas Morning News. “When I got back after going out … I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left…That’s all I know.”
Irvin, 56, admitted he didn’t recall the conversation between him and the female but called the interaction “just a friendly conversation”. He defended himself by saying “There was definitely nothing physical”.
The report from The Dallas Morning News added that Glendale police officials do not know about any incident regarding Irvin.
A report from Front Office Sports claims ESPN executives are “poised to pull the plug” on Irvin’s scheduled appearance on First Take from Radio Row Friday.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer has been with NFL Network since 2009, and in August of last year signed an extension to remain with the cable channel.
Pro Bowl Lowest Rated Since 2006
While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues.
The NFL completely revamped its Pro Bowl format for the 2022 season, and the changes did not garner more viewers.
An average of 6.28 million viewers tuned into the event across ABC, ESPN, and DisneyXD Sunday for the first 7-on-7 event. That number is a decrease of 6% compared to last year and is the lowest-rated Pro Bowl since the 2006 event saw just 5.96 million viewers. That figure excludes the 2021 Pro Bowl, which was a “virtual” event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest-rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues, with the MLB All-Star Game seeing an average viewership of 7.51 million. The 6.28 million who watched the Pro Bowl is a virtual tie with last season’s NBA All-Star Game.
The Pro Bowl Skills Challenge — now produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions — did see a large increase in viewership compared to last year. More than 1 million viewers tuned into the Thursday night primetime event, which is the second-best figure on record. That audience is a 23% increase compared to last year’s event.