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ESPN has removed Sage Steele from programming for a week. Here’s why

ESPN removed Sage Steele after controversial remarks during a podcast.

ESPN’s Sage Steele speaks in Marina del Rey, California.
Sage Steele speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. ESPN recently removed personality Steele from programming for one week after she made controversial comments during a recent podcast appearance.
Associated Press

ESPN recently removed personality Sage Steele from programming for one week after she made controversial comments during a recent podcast appearance.

  • Steele has been with ESPN for about 15 years. She hosts the noon edition of “SportsCenter” and has covered major sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the Masters.

ESPN said in a statement:

  • “At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great. That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies. We are having direct conversations with Sage, and those conversations will remain private.”

Steele issued an apology for her comments:

  • “I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” Steele said, per Yahoo! Sports. “We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”

What did Sage Steele say?

Steele appeared on Jay Cutler‘s podcast “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast, where she shared thoughts about ESPN’s vaccine mandate, sexism in sports and more.

  • “I respect everyone’s decision. I really do. But to mandate it is sick, and it’s scary to me in many ways,” Steele told Cutler. “I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney. I mean, a global company like that.”

Per Variety, Steele is “off the air because she recently tested positive for coronavirus.”

Steele said she would often turn down mentorship opportunities “from aspiring female sports reporters who present themselves in what she sees as an overly sexualized manner,” according to The Hill.

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

Steele also reportedly talked about former President Barack Obama’s ethnicity:

  • “I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing.’ 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,” she said, per The Hill.

What’s next for Sage Steele?

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Steele won’t appear on her normal noon “SportsCenter” slot for a week. She will not host the 2021 “espnW: Women + Sports Summit” anymore, either.