ESPN has been struggling recently, and one of the problems it is facing is its political partisanship. ESPN’s president, Jimmy Pitaro, has been at the helm of ESPN for five months, and one of his goals is to refocus ESPN on *gasp* sports. To that end, outspoken leftist Jemele Hill has been bought out of her contract.
Since then, she has been busily tweeting about politics while serving as senior correspondent and columnist for ESPN’s blog “The Undefeated.” As of this writing, she is still listed in that role.
Late last year, Kemberlee blogged about ESPN’s $80 million in salary cuts resulting in another massive round of layoffs. She asked at the time, “What will it take for them to learn sports and politics don’t mix?”. Apparently, it took a new ESPN president.
Earlier this month, Pitaro stated that he intends to de-politicize ESPN and focus more on what the viewers of a sports channel want to see: sports.
The Washington Post reported at the time:
Jimmy Pitaro has been president of ESPN for a little more than five months and made clear Friday that he wants the network to focus more on sports and less on politics.
Pitaro said one of his top priorities has been to improve relations with the NFL. Those ties have been strained by ESPN investigations into player concussions and the sports network’s coverage of players protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem — issues that sometimes painted the league in an unflattering light.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with league executives,” Pitaro said Friday. “The relationship is incredibly important to us. That programming cuts across everything we’re doing on the studio side, on the original content side. And we’ve made that very clear to the NFL.”
The sports behemoth has battled the head winds of an all-consuming political climate. Prominent personality Jemele Hill was suspended from the network last year for calling President Trump a white supremacist. The White House responded by calling the tweet “a fireable offense,” which fueled conservative critics of the network.
Pitaro said he prioritizes limiting political commentary. “If you ask me is there a false narrative out there, I will tell you ESPN being a political organization is false,” he said. “I will tell you I have been very, very clear with employees here that it is not our jobs to cover politics, purely.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement of a return to covering sports without political grandstanding, particularly as he announced at the same time that ESPN will continue its policy of not airing the playing of the national anthem before games. That said and its implications (cowardice) absorbed, it seemed a step in the right direction.
Getting rid of Hill’s toxic hyper-partisanship and anti-Trump derangement is further evidence that ESPN is serious about rebranding.
— james andrew miller (@JimMiller) August 26, 2018
Jemele Hill needed to be out at ESPN. Hill knew it. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro knew it. And, now, Jemele Hill is out at ESPN.
The marriage between ESPN and Hill — the controversial sports commentator who waded into politics and sparred with President Donald Trump — has long been stuck in irreconcilable differences. Since leaving “SportsCenter” earlier this year, she has barely worked, making a divorce the obvious conclusion.
A buyout of her reported $2.5 million per year contract has been completed and her last day will be Friday, according to sources.
On Saturday night, the author James Miller, who wrote a book about ESPN, first tweeted the news of the breakup, calling it “amicable.” The timing, on a Saturday evening, was fortunate for Hill and ESPN in an attempt to lessen the news coverage of what had been a huge national story, both in politics and in sports. There had been rumblings last week of buyout talks between the two sides.
It is quite simple as to why the buyout happened: Hill wants to continue her involvement in politics, and ESPN wants out of politics.
It’s amazing that Twitter mentions got to her through Twitter’s protections of the snowflake class that target and result in the shadow-banning shadow banning of conservatives, Republicans, Trump supporters, and anyone to the right of Mao. But apparently they did.
Hill felt the heat after the announcement and posted the following to sum up the feedback she’d received on the news of her split with ESPN.
Live look at my mentions pic.twitter.com/yxkE88Nqwr
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 26, 2018
She “ain’t sweating it, tho.”
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 26, 2018
She has a couple million to comfort her while she awaits the inevitable calls from MSNBC and CNN.DONATE
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