Just a few days ago, ESPN’s Jemele Hill was suspended for a second violation of the company’s social media policy. After previously having called Trump a “white supremacist,” Hill took Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to task for banning his players from kneeling during the anthem. Apparently, going as far as calling for a boycott of the NFL was enough for ESPN to finally take action.
Of course, none of this is exactly surprising. For a few years now, ESPN has been trending more and more liberal. Since Trump took office in January, that trend has only intensified. However, ESPN’s on-air talent is showing no signs of slowing down the theatrics. In fact, “Pardon the Interruption” host Michael Wilbon took the criticism of Jerry Jones to a new level this week.
From the Washington Times:
On the same day that Jemele Hill was suspended from ESPN for tweeting about politics, another network personality, Michael Wilbon, compared Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to a slave owner.
Mr. Wilbon, co-host of “Pardon the Interruption,” took issue with Mr. Jones’ stance that players who do not stand for the national anthem before football games will not play.
“And the word that comes to my mind―and I don’t care who doesn’t like me using it―is plantation,” Mr. Wilbon said on Monday’s show. “The players are here to serve me, and they will do what I want. No matter how much I pay them, they are not equal to me. That’s what this says to me and mine.”
But amazingly, here is the comment from ESPN: “ESPN declined to comment on Mr. Wilbon’s remarks.”
Seriously? They fired Curt Schilling for comments he made on his personal Facebook page. They had the good sense to suspend Jemele Hill after comments about Trump.
But they have “no comment” on Wilbon’s remarks. Guess ESPN agrees with them.
Like any employer, team owners have a right to make rules about what is acceptable behavior at work. As employees, players have little choice but to follow the rules. After all, that’s what they get paid to do.
But unlike slaves, they’re free to quit at any time.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]