ESPN host Sage Steele’s criticism of a Black NFL player’s protest led to a Twitter firestorm and caused Steele to cry for unity.
The controversy began when Steele tweeted a photo demanding Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans rise for the national anthem. Steele saw Evan’s kneeling ahead of his Nov. 13 game as a sign of disrespect for the military.
“Look up [the] definition of the word DEMOCRACY,” Steele, a self-described Army brat, tweeted to Evans Nov. 13 “And remember this pic while kneeling/exercising your right to protest.”
Hey @MikeEvans13_ look up definition of the word DEMOCRACY & remember this pic while kneeling/exercising your right to protest #perspective pic.twitter.com/kGruy3wEDe
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) November 14, 2016
According to The Washington Post, Evans knelt during “The Star Spangled Banner” to voice opposition to Donald Trump’s election. But two days later, he apologized to military members and revealed he would end his demonstration.
However, before Evans announced that decision, podcaster Miko Grimes criticized Steele’s message. Although her account is now private, The Big Lead published her tweets towards the anchor.
“This stupid b—- thinks national anthem sitting equals hatred for [the] military! U ignorant little b—-!” Grimes tweeted in part Nov. 14. “Black b—–s get white privilege then forget SOLDIERS FOUGHT FOR EVERYONE’S RIGHTS, NOT JUST THE RIGHTS YOU CARE ABOUT!”
Another tweet referred to Steele as a coon.
“Please tell that COON @sagesteele (that thinks bc she sucks a white d— every night that means she isn’t Black) that I said F— HER!”
Additionally, other Twitter users took aim at Steele’s remarks.
Tyler deemed the sportscaster an uncle Tom.
Looks like Uncle Tom of the day is Sage Steele, yikes.
— Ty (@TMark617) November 14, 2016
And Tariq Nasheed pointed to Steele’s white husband for her ideology.
Espn's Sage Steele made slick comments about Black athletes who protests racism.Then I see a pic of her husband. NBW pic.twitter.com/nSYbM90joa
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) November 14, 2016
As a result, Steele posted a lengthy Facebook message where she called for Black people to unify and welcome diversity.
“Instead of praising or uplifting each other, way too many people of color choose to tear down, mock and spew hatred at other Blacks who feel differently, think differently, or make decisions that are different from theirs. That, my friends, is hypocrisy at its best. Or should I say, its hypocrisy at its worst,” she said in part.
Steele, whose mother is white and Father is Black, continued by slamming other social media users who deemed her an Uncle Tom and a coon for her stance.
“You don’t get a hall-pass just because you’re a minority,” she went on. “Racism is racism, no matter what color your skin is. So when you call me a sell-out, or a coon, or an Uncle Tom, or any other derogatory term to let me know that you disagree with me, you lose every ounce of credibility with those whom you deem racist at the drop of a hat.”
As a self-proclaimed, proud bi-racial woman — my father is black and my mother is white — the word “…
Posted by Sage Steele on Thursday, November 17, 2016
But her call didn’t quell the irritation.
King Lex questioned why the onus always had to be placed on Black people.
Sage Steele, why must the burden ALWAYS be on black people to embrace diversity like we're the ones that disenfranchised ourselves?
— 👑🍑🏆GIMME ALL THE TROPHIES 👑🍑🏆 (@Lex_Naija) November 17, 2016
The Blame Guy took issue with Steele’s remark in which she asked, “Shouldn’t you be praising that ‘white boy’ from Indiana who followed his color-blind heart…?”