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The ESPN Double Standard

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let's get crazy and play pretend. Let's imagine that a white ESPN male anchor, during the presidency of Barack Obama, put out a series of tweets calling Obama a racist, and said he was ignorant and offensive.


What do we suppose would happen to him? What do we think ESPN would say and do? Well, we don't really have to wonder because we all know what ESPN would say and do. Management would fire the doofus in the blink of an eye and would put out a noble statement declaring that ESPN doesn't tolerate that kind of hatred from its employees.

And in that make-believe scenario, ESPN would be right.

But this isn't pretend or make-believe: Jemele Hill, who is an ESPN anchor, still has her job even after tweeting that President Trump is a racist who is ignorant and offensive. Here is Hill, in her own words:

"Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists."

"Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period."

"He is unqualified and unfit to be president. He is not a leader. And if he were not white, he never would have been elected."

And if Jemele Hill were not black (and liberal), she never would have kept her job after going ballistic the way she did. I know we're not supposed to say things like that in polite company. But we also know it's true.

Curt Schilling, the former major league baseball pitcher who is white and conservative, was fired by ESPN last year for putting out a controversial (and dopey) message on Facebook about transgender bathrooms.

If he was fired, why wasn't Jemele Hill, a lot of conservatives are asking?

Rush Limbaugh quit his analyst job at ESPN back in 2003 after he caused a furor saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated and that the media didn't point that out because journalists wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.


Before he quit, then-Democratic presidential candidates Wesley Clark and Howard Dean said ESPN should fire Limbaugh. Clark called the remarks "hateful and ignorant." Dean said they were "absurd and offensive."

For argument's sake, let's say they were. But then what should we make of Jemele Hill's remarks? Aren't they hateful and ignorant and offensive?

Well, that depends on how you feel about this president. It's no secret that in the world of what we call mainstream journalism -- one of the reliably liberal institutions in America -- Hill's contempt for President Trump is not out of line. In many journalistic circles, it's taken for granted that he's a racist.

And let's be clear: This is America. Hill is entitled to her opinions. No one is arguing that she shouldn't be allowed to think whatever she wants to think about Trump or anyone else. But what should ESPN do when an anchor goes public with her thinking and goes on a rant that has nothing to do with sports?

Well, ESPN has provided us with an answer. They didn't censure Hill. Nor did they suspend her. And they certainly didn't fire her. What they did was pretty much ... nothing! Oh, yeah, the head of ESPN said what Hill did was "inappropriate."

Take that, Jemele!

Last year, Hill defended ESPN's decision to fire Schilling saying, "The values Curt Schilling was trying to promote didn't line up with what ESPN wants to be as a company."

That raises a question: Do Jemele Hill's comments about President Trump line up with what ESPN wants to be as a company?


Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President's Trump's press secretary, said Hill's comments amounted to a "fireable offense" -- a statement that enraged several liberal journalists who thought she overstepped her bounds by commenting on the case from the podium in the press room. Liberal outrage amuses me.

But whether or not you think Hill should get canned, let's at least agree on this much: ESPN, like most news organizations, is a liberal outfit. And as such, the people who run the place will tolerate a lot more from a liberal than they would from a conservative.

For the record, Jemele Hill has now issued a non-apology/apology. "My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light," she said in a statement.

In other words, she still thinks Donald Trump is a white supremacist hateful, bigoted idiot, but, hey, she's sorry she made her bosses at ESPN look like the sniveling, pathetic hypocrites that they are by letting her off as easy as they did.

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