ESPN has hit one of its high-profile on-air personalities with a two-week suspension, sending home “SportsCenter” host and commentator Jemele Hill over a series of tweets she sent out Sunday night, SI.com reports.
Hill’s tweets called for an advertiser boycott of the Dallas Cowboys after Dallas owner and GM Jerry Jones spoke out strongly against the National Anthem protests, insisting that his team’s players will either stand for the anthem or will not play.
“Hill said that a more powerful protest than Cowboys players Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott personally boycotting would be to stop watching and buying Cowboys merchandise,” SI reports.
The report quotes a tweet Sunday night from Hill that reads: “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”
After a Twitter follower sent out a list of some of the Cowboys’ sponsors, Hill followed with a tweet saying: “This play always works. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”
SI notes that ESPN’s bottom line is closely tied to the NFL. “In 2011 the company renewed its partnership with the league for $15.2 billion through 2021. That equals a payment of $1.9 billion a year,” the report notes.
ESPN issued a statement saying: “Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previous acknowledged letting her colleagues down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”
The statement apparently was referring to a tweet last month from Hill in which she said Donald Trump was “unqualified and unfit to be President” and called him “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” Hill later apologized for the tweet, as we reported previously.