NEW YORK (AP/105.3 The Fan) — ESPN has suspended ‘SportsCenter’ host Jemele Hill for a “second violation of our social media guidelines,” the network said in a statement Tuesday.
Hill’s suspension came after the host’s tweets telling people to boycott the Cowboys and their advertisers.
Over twelve hours later, Hill reversed course and said that she wasn’t advocating for an NFL boycott, but ESPN felt that the damage was already done and suspended her.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” the statement read. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet.
“In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that much actions would have consequences,” it continued. “Hence this decision.”
Hill targeted Jerry Jones after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team.
“We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
On Monday morning, Cowboys CEO and director of player personnel, Stephen Jones, said his father has never told his players what to do when it comes to the national anthem.
“I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Jerry since his interview,” Jones told the G-Bag Nation on 105.3 The Fan. “I know this. He’s been very pleased. I think we’ve had great communication with our players in terms of the way to do things in terms of how we can certainly have respect and be sensitive to the things that they’re faced with as we did in Arizona. But at the same time, I think they understand and trust Jerry, trust our organization that we also need to pay the proper respect to the flag.
I think they’ve had a great understanding. Jerry’s never told them to do anything, he’s always asked them to. I know we’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve handled it … our players as a team, as an organization, the way we’ve handled obviously a very difficult situation.”
Hill previously violated ESPN’s social media policy when she called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” and “bigot” on Twitter.
Hill said Trump was “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” She wrote that he was “the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.” She called him a bigot and said it was the height of white privilege to ignore his white supremacy because it wasn’t a threat. “Well, it’s a threat to me,” she typed.
ESPN later distanced itself from Hill’s remarks.
“Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN,” said Josh Krulewitz, network spokesman. “She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”
Hill appeared in her regular co-hosting slot that night.
Later, she tweeted a statement to “address the elephant in the room.”
“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” she wrote. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
Hill was supported by the National Association of Black Journalists, which issued a statement saying it “supports Hill’s First Amendment rights on all matters of discussion, within and outside the world of sports, as they do not impinge on her duties as a host and commentator.”
The debate over her remarks and right to say them reverberated across social media.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)