ESPN’s Sage Steele Leaves the Network After Settling A Lawsuit

espn's sage steele

ESPN’s Sage Steele is no longer associated with ESPN.

The longstanding SportsCenter host announced on X, the website formerly known as Twitter, that she was leaving Disney’s ESPN after a lawsuit settlement with the network.

Steele filed a lawsuit against the network in 2022, alleging that the company retaliated against her for remarks she made in a podcast interview with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler about the Covid vaccine and other political and social issues.

“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I chose to leave so that I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele said on X on Tuesday.I feel fortunate for all that has happened to me in the last 16 years and can’t wait to begin my next chapter!

The reporter sued ESPN and its parent company, saying that she was “sidelined” after making comments on a podcast, which violated her contract and her right to free speech.

“ESPN and Sage Steele have decided to part ways, an ESPN representative said Tuesday. We appreciate all of her efforts over the years.”

Sage said on the September 2021 podcast that she had been vaccinated against Covid, but that the company’s requirement that everyone get vaccinated was “sick.”

She also commented on the ethnicity of former President Barack Obama, saying, “Barack Obama chose Black and he is biracial. Congratulations to the president, as this is his specialty. I find that interesting, since his black father was never around when he was raised by his white mother and grandmother. Sage also said that the late Barbara Walters made fun of her for being of two races.

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Steele’s father, Gary Steele, was the first black football player at West Point. Her mother, Mona Steele, was white.

Steele claimed on the same program that women who wear revealing clothing to the office are to blame for any sexism they encounter.

Steele issued an apology soon after the podcast was made public, saying, “I am aware that my recent remarks have caused controversy within the company, and I apologize.” Communication that is both thoughtful and productive is more important than ever as we all try to make it through this trying time.

Media coverage “erupted” in response to Steele’s statements, and ESPN and its parent company apologized and suspended her, as alleged in Steele’s claim.

Steele claimed that she was protected by her right to free speech when she decided to be interviewed on the podcast as a  private person rather than an ESPN employee on her day off.