ESPN reporter Sage Steele is under fire for her recent comments about Barack Obama’s father. The sports outlet has suspended Steele pending investigation.
Steele spoke out on former NFL player Jay Cutler’s podcast “Uncut With Jay Cutler,” and made remarks about Barack Obama’s father who is of Kenyan descent.
Steele, like Obama, is of mixed race, was recanting a story about when her mother asked what race she would be putting on her census and she said “both,” indicating both white and Black races. As she retold the story she said her mother pointed out that Obama is biracial but checked “Black” when he filled out his 2010 Census. The sports anchor said it was “fascinating” that he chose Black, “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,” per the Washington Post.
Steele is also receiving backlash about her comments about women’s sports journalists’ attire claiming they expect attention from male athletes when dressing a certain way.
“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.”
The sports anchor also addressed Disney’s vaccine mandate saying it was “sick” and “scary” that they were forcing employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways,” she said. “But I have a job, a job that I love and, frankly, a job that I need.”
ESPN later released a statement following Steele’s remarks:
“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great. 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. We are having direct conversations with Sage, and those conversations will remain private.”
Steele also released a statement regarding her comments, “We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time and that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”
Sports journalist Jemele Hill commented on her former co-worker’s comments dismissing her remarks as “clown behavior.”
“So on top of thinking former President Obama shouldn’t identify as black because he didn’t have a relationship with his black father, Sage Steele also thinks female journalists who dress a certain way ‘know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on.’ Clown behavior.”
So on top of thinking former President Obama shouldn’t identify as black because he didn’t have a relationship with his black father, Sage Steele also thinks female journalists who dress a certain way “know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on.”— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 3, 2021
Clown behavior. pic.twitter.com/edgTVopQqg
MSNBC’s Joy Reid also wrote her thoughts on Steele’s controversial comments regarding Obama saying she is “genuinely curious” what he should have checked on his Census form.
“Barack Obama’s father was literally African … he’s even named after him. Literally… By every European/American-made conception of race he is Black (as is Ms Steele, sorry ma’am!)”
Barack Obama’s father was literally African … he’s even named after him. Literally… By every European/American-made conception of race he is Black (as is Ms Steele, sorry ma’am!) So… what would she have him put on his Census form??? Genuinely curious. https://t.co/8CQFb9A3l3— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) October 4, 2021
You can watch the full interview below. They discuss President Obama at 41:00. The topic of women sports journalists is at about 19:43. And they discuss Disney at 48:45.