Sage Steele has won her free speech lawsuit at ESPN. But in what might be deemed as a plot twist, she announced that she’d prefer to exercise it elsewhere. After 16 years, the 50-year-old anchor promised to share her next moves “very soon,’” as she announced her departure from ESPN on X, formerly Twitter.
“Life update. Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele posted. “I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”
Steele and ESPN settled the lawsuit she brought after her COVID-19 comments on former Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler’s podcast were widely derided.
On his show Uncut with Jay Cutler, which aired last year, Steele mocked vaccination requirements, calling them “sick” and saying she got the shot as mandated but felt the public was “forced” to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
She also suggested that former president Barack Obama identifying as Black, denied the contributions of his white mother and grandparents who raised him.
“That’s his thing,” she told Cutler on the podcast. “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 is the biracial daughter of Gary Steele, the first Black football player at West Point. Her mother, Mona, is white.
During the podcast, Steele also said that female reporters, if they dress provocatively, are responsible for the sexism they face.
After the show aired, Steele says ESPN took her off the air. She contended the network suspended her but was also diagnosed with COVID, which mandated she be away from the network studios while recovering.
Steele sued ESPN, saying that she was punished for exercising her right to free speech. The parties have settled with no financial information provided.
“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways. We thank her for her many contributions over the years,” the network said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.
See how elated social media is about Steele’s departure below.
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