After criticizing ESPN's vaccine mandate, and only taking the vaccine to avoid being removed from programming, Sage Steele has been taken off air for a week after all — and she has since tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.
Among the other controversial remarks that might have led to her suspension, the biracial Steele, 48, blasted absent Black fathers — including former President Barack Obama's — young women sports anchors dressing too provocatively, and globalism.
A Catholic conservative, Steele told "Uncut With Jay Cutler," a podcast with a former NFL quarterback, the ESPN parent company ABC/Disney is a global brand, and it shows it cannot tolerate the sharing of those opinions publicly.
"At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great," ESPN wrote in a statement, Variety reported. "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."
Steele was forced to apologize for her comments that were not consistent with ESPN's values.
"I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize," Steele's statement published by ESPN read. "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's comments were not as much controversial as they were perhaps politically inconsistent with ESPN/ABC and mainstream media, including criticizing vaccination mandates.
"I respect everyone's decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick, and it's scary to me in many ways," Steele told Cutler. "I'm not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney. I mean, a global company like that."
Steele, who expressed a love for her still-present Black father, was critical of absent Black parents, including bi-racial ex-President Barack Obama selecting "Black" as his ethnicity on the census.
"I'm like, 'Well, congratulations to the president,'" Steele told Cutler. "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, but hey, you do you. I'm going to do me."
Steele was also critical of women sports broadcasters being oversexualized, but choosing to wear provocative clothing a male sports broadcaster would not wear.
"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 told Cutler. "Like, women are smart, so don't play coy and put it all on the guys."
Culter responded to reports about Steele getting disciplined for speaking out on positions that are not consistent with ESPN's values, tweeting: "Ridiculous. I'm also going to take a week off work. Be back next week ✌🏼"
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