A few weeks ago, SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill tweeted the following:
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
In doing so, she mirrored the concerns of many Americans, and many people abroad.
She faced criticism from conservatives and from supporters of the president for calling Trump a white supremacist.
But she also faced widespread support from Black Twitter, from her black colleagues at ESPN and from her fellow sports journalists at the National Association for Black Journalists.
Hill, however, was not supported by her employer, who reportedly tried to replace her. They were allegedly foiled in this effort by her co-host, and instead “addressed” the issue with her.
Not long after the incident, Hill apologized to her colleagues at the station.
Now, she has been suspended by ESPN for another tweet, this one suggesting a boycott of the Dallas Cowboy’s sponsors:
Don't ask Dak, Dez & other Cowboys players to protest. A more powerful statement is if you stop watching and buying their merchandise.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Or, how about not patronizing the advertisers who support the Cowboys? You can watch and do that, right? https://t.co/duPNqxFta7— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers. https://t.co/LFXJ9YQe74— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Hill doesn’t hate the Cowboys; she was moved to tweet her tweet after the Cowboy’s owner forbid any of his players from protesting during the national anthem. In her tweets, she suggested that anyone who wanted to express their anger at the owner do so by attacking his pockets.
The owner, Jerry Jones, said that he will not “tolerate disrespecting the flag,” and that those that didn’t stand wouldn’t be allowed to play, CBS Sports reports.
Hill advocated for the move because she felt that Jones put his players, especially his black players, in an unfair position.
Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don't kneel, some will see them as sellouts.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
No. Jerry has turned this into them choosing football over the community they represent and that isn't right. https://t.co/u4MgpnCDAI— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
I agree. But by drawing a line in the sand, Jerry put his players under more scrutiny and threw them under the bus. https://t.co/QRTl8fl6RW— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
ESPN didn’t care. The network saw the tweets and suspended Hill for two weeks “for a second violation of our social media guidelines.”
ESPN's Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/JkVoBVz7lv— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 9, 2017
The network did not offer any conflict of interest statement; some of the advertisers that support the Cowboys have also bought ad time on ESPN.
As was the case with the white supremacist kerfuffle, Hill had her defenders, upset that ESPN has placed Hill in the same position she was protesting Jones for putting his players in.
Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist which is a fact. How in the world would a statement like that reflect badly on a network?— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) October 9, 2017
Jemele Hill, now suspended by ESPN, will be home to watch Hank Williams Jr. -- who once compared Obama to Hitler -- work for @ESPN tonight.— Ja'han Jones (@_Jahan) October 9, 2017
How the hell is what Jemele Hill tweeted controversial? Every consumer knows the key is advertisers. Facts.— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) October 9, 2017
We see you, ESPN. pic.twitter.com/NvLYn2G0Mi
I stand by Jemele Hill ✊🏾 https://t.co/C0M778xl1u— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 9, 2017
.@jemelehill was right! There is an undue burden of the players who JUST WANT TO PLAY FOOTBALL, but ALSO WANT THEIR EXISTENCE valued.— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) October 9, 2017
But Jemele spoke truth to power and she's out two weeks? Seems like a warning shot to me. The double standards are staggering y'all.— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) October 9, 2017
Some predicted that ESPN’s black employees will once again stand up for Hill:
Can assure you that employees of color at ESPN are going to be furious with the Jemele Hill suspension.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 9, 2017
While others are calling for a boycott of the network:
ESPN's suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered. ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) October 9, 2017
Shame on ESPN for suspending Jemele Hill for exercising her right of freedom of speech. Boycott the channel until she’s back on air.— Simar (@sahluwal) October 9, 2017
And until y'all do right by Jemele Hill... pic.twitter.com/NSbtwxmghb— Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) October 9, 2017
After Hill’s tweet about President Trump, the White House called for her to be fired, according to Sports Illustrated, and others. Neither she nor the president have commented as of yet on her suspension.