ESPN has removed anchor Sage Steele from all programming for a week after she said it was “fascinating” that former President Barack Obama self-identifies as black “considering his black dad was nowhere to be found.”
“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great,” the sports network said in a statement. “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.”
ESPN also sent out an apology from Steele.
“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” Steele said. “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.”
Steele, who is biracial, told former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler last month that she identifies as both white and black, and she found it “fascinating” that former President Obama, who is biracial, too, identifies only as black, The Daily Wire reported on Tuesday.
The commentary was raised when Steele recalled a colleague asking her to “choose” to identify as either black or white, noting that Obama identified himself as black on the census back in 2010.
On the podcast, “Uncut with Jay Cutler,” Steele said she’d still choose to identify as both black and white. As for Obama, the ESPN personality said, “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,” Steele continued. “But hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
The Hill noted that Steele also told Cutler that she “has rejected requests from aspiring female sports reporters who present themselves in what she sees as an overly sexualized manner.”
“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.”
During the same podcast appearance, Steele called a vaccine mandate from the Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN, “sick,” as highlighted by The Daily Wire.
The company mandated all employees get the jab before September 30, lest they be fired, she told Cutler. “I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways. I just, I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney, I mean a global company like that.”
Steele also joked that the nurse who gave her the vaccine might have thought she was Candace Owens since she really jabbed her. Owens was famously denied COVID testing by a business in Colorado over her political views.
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