Recently ESPN veteran sportscaster and host of ESPN’s The 6, Jemele Hill, excercised her First Amendment rights by going on Twitter and stating the obvious, that President Donald J. Trump is a white supremacist.  This is not a grand revelation.  There are no ominous-sounding choirs or dramatic violins needed. 

Many have been calling the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports a clearinghouse for liberal viewpoints over the past year, following ESPN’s carpet bombing-style coverage of Colin Kaepernick both at the pinnacle of his protest and during the offseason, as well as the continuing coverage of his blackballing. 

It was around this time that I started hearing accusations of liberal bias levied against them on a consistent basis, with increasing volume.

Jemele Hill on Twitter

@DonnyParlock @demillz84 @JayG34 Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.

The manner in which ESPN’s respective programming is situated means that the talking points of the day will ride the wave for an entire news cycle, being discussed on all of its wide-ranging shows across its various platforms; from podcasts to nationally-syndicated radio shows.  

For years, ESPN has put up the façade of inclusiveness, and you’d be hard pressed to find a brother or sister who would disparage their higher ups, neither on or off the record. Every last one of the black producers, writers and personalities that were employed at ESPN that I have ever met have had nothing but great things to say about their employers and colleagues.   

As far as networks go, ESPN appears to be light years ahead of all its contemporaries as far as inclusion goes.  Both from a gender, ethnic and cultural perspective, they historically have been able to craft an image of being cutting edge, cool and hip.  

One would even say, with the overwhelming majority of the network leadership being white males, that all that cool programming, with its Hip Hop references, black celebrity sports fans and frequent pop culture guests, that they were incorporating a kind of cultural appropriation for image and ratings not unlike those undertaken by FOX, UPN and the WB.  

Jemele Hill on Twitter

@DonnyParlock @demillz84 @JayG34 He is unqualified and unfit to be president. He is not a leader. And if he were not white, he never would have been elected

Backtracking 30 years, as it became increasingly clear that Hip Hop music, culture and imagery attracted viewers and advertisers, each of the aforementioned networks inundated the airwaves with “black” content.  

Some of it, such as New York Undercover, Living Single, Martin, The Jamie Fox Show and others, were very good. For ten years (1996-2006), UPN only offered black people slapstick comedy.   Virtually all of FOX's first shows, like The Parent ‘Hood, Sister, Sister and the Wayans Brothers, were aimed at black audiences.  

As is seemingly always the case when a particular body puts on the mask of another, the networks used blackness to draw in viewership, only to discard that façade when it was no longer deemed beneficial.

After years of being the hippest, coolest kid in cable sports networks, ESPN suddenly finds itself at a crossroads.  In November of 2016, Business Insider reported that the network's Nielsen ratings dropped below 89 million viewers for the first time in more than a decade.  On average, the network lost 310,000 subscribers per month last year.  Perhaps in response to poor ratings and subscriber loss, ESPN fired 300 staffers, including a few household names.  

Right now, they're still cruising along with Hip Hop stars, black singers, celebrities and, of course, athletes appearing on the network, giving them a de facto “ghetto pass”.  However, now it has become clear that ESPN, with its admonishment of Hill for voicing an opinion that is steel reinforced with truth,  is very nervous about viewership. 

Jemele Hill on Twitter

@DonnyParlock @demillz84 @JayG34 The height of white privilege is being able to ✌🏾ignore✌🏾his white supremacy, because it's of no threat to you. Well, it's a threat to me.

And it’s not like their decision makers haven’t noticed what’s going on in the country; Trump in the White House, Charlottesville, and the visceral counter response to Kaepernick’s protest are obvious examples of societal tumult that ESPN has covered, but we can go back to Trayvon Martin and beyond for more examples.  

After all that seemingly compassionate coverage, after all the insightful and impactful commentary on said issues by Michael WIlbon, Michael Smith, Jemele and even Stephen A. Smith to a certain extent, ESPN rehires Hank Williams.  Williams was fired in October 2011 over inflammatory remarks made against President Obama and continued making them after his departure. He’s a birther and still believes Obama is of the Muslim faith. But ESPN brought him back on June 5.  That’s more than curious.

White supremacy and institutional racism are this year’s keywords, and rightfully so.  I’m grown enough to know that ESPN is operating in a capitalist society in which many very powerful people are overtly or covertly white supremacists. 

C.Y.A. is the mantra of the day. 

ESPN PR on Twitter

ESPN Statement on Jemele Hill:

However, in admonishing Hill, the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports has revealed itself to be little more than just another entity catering to advertising dollars and ratings, and not some news oasis of diversity and inclusion that it pretends to be.  Diversity and inclusion in the true sense are about the diversification of ideas and thoughts, which is something this country is sorely lacking.    

ESPN appears to be telling Jemele Hill to stick to sports.  

Perhaps she should say, "You first!"