We have a new heroine this week, and she’s crazy cool.
Jemele Hill, co-host of SportsCenter on ESPN, called President Donald Trump a white supremacist this week on Twitter. Honestly, the comment was appropriate given Trump’s statements on everything from former President Barack Obama’s birthplace to his deafening silence on Charlottesville, Virginia.
What made Hill stand out was that the White House called her comments a “fireable offense” the next day. In other words, the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was calling for a critic of Trump to be fired from her job. So much for free speech. Despite being attacked by the White House, Hill has not deleted her tweets. Instead, she took to Twitter once again, issuing a statement.
"My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs," Hill tweeted. "My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional."
Hill’s actions have brought up a few key issues. The first, obviously, is that the White House should not be dictating who is employable based on whether or not the criticize the president.
But at a deeper layer, we have a woman - a black woman, no less - taking on this job that many see as a role that is traditionally filled by men (and yes, we know that thinking is problematic). We have to wonder if the criticism not only comes from true outrage, but also because people are uncomfortable with a black woman speaking up.
ESPN tried to keep Hill off the air on Wednesday night, but her co-host, Michael Smith, refused to do the show without her; ThinkProgress’ Lindsay Gibbs reported that ESPN made efforts to replace the black hosts with two other black ESPN hosts -- and they didn’t bite either.
- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #20