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Sage Steele Leaving ESPN’s SportsCenter After Settling Lawsuit



Sage Steele Leaving ESPN’s SportsCenter After Settling Lawsuit

The longtime “SportsCenter” anchor filed a lawsuit against ESPN in 2022, claiming that her company had infringed upon her free speech when she raised concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination. Steele published a simple message on social media to announce her decision to end her 16-year relationship.

Before hosting ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” from 2013 to 2017, Steele joined “SportsCenter” in 2007.

Steele’s complaint was primarily motivated by ESPN’s decision to suspend her with pay in 2021 after she referred to the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement as “sick” on Jay Cutler’s podcast, “Uncut with Jay Cutler.” In the same podcast, Steele criticised former President Barack Obama and claimed that when athletes make offensive remarks to reporters, female reporters are also to fault.

Additionally, Steele alleged that ESPN pressured her to apologise, withheld assignments from her as payback, and did nothing to stop her coworkers from abusing her.

According to the lawsuit, ESPN “violated Connecticut law and Steele’s rights to free speech based upon a faulty understanding of her comments and a nonexistent, unenforced workplace policy that serves as nothing more than pretext,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Steele asked for undefined compensation.

Two months after Steele filed her lawsuit, ESPN made an attempt to have it dismissed, arguing that “removing Steele from broadcasts, letting her coworkers forgo appearing with her, and allegedly condit[ing] her return to those broadcasts on her issuing an apology are casting decisions that are considered conduct furthering ESPN’s protected expression.”

Steele was still employed by the firm during the legal dispute, and she appeared on “SportsCenter” and ESPN’s coverage of the PGA Championship and the Masters golf tournament.

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