Sage Steele is facing consequences after making controversial comments about former President Barack Obama and covid vaccine mandate last week on the podcast “Uncut with Jay Cutler.”
The “SportCenter” host is being taken off air for a week after criticizing Obama for identifying as Black on his U.S. Census form when “his Black dad was nowhere to be found.” Steele, who is biracial like Obama, claims she would’ve wanted to mark both Black and white on the Census form.
She also caught flak for disparaging the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which she was required to take by Sept. 30. She called it “sick and scary” that companies like her company, ESPN, and Disney — which she specifically named — would require their employees to be vaccinated.
It was also reported by several outlets that Steele has tested positive for COVID-19. ESPN put out a statement Tuesday, which is the same day her remarks went viral on Twitter, explaining their decision following the backlash to her.
The sports network wrote in a statement: “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 issued her own statement apologizing for her remarks: “I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize. 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.”
The 48-year-old graduated in 1995 from Indiana University, and after several news jobs she was hired by ESPN in 2007. Steele now works as a co-anchor of “Sportscenter” along with Matt Barrie at noon ET.