Sage Steele’s departure from ESPN was announced on Tuesday, marking the end of her nearly two-decade tenure with the Disney-owned company.
In a recent “life update” on X, Steele revealed that her lawsuit against the company had been settled, and she made the decision to leave in order to have the freedom to exercise her first amendment rights.
She expressed gratitude for the many wonderful experiences she had during her 16 years at ESPN and expressed excitement for her next chapter.
Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely. I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!#SteeleStrong
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) August 15, 2023
ESPN confirmed the mutual agreement to part ways with Steele and thanked her for her contributions.
The veteran broadcaster’s lawsuit stemmed from a breach of contract by the network, which occurred in response to remarks she made during a podcast interview in September 2021. In the interview, she criticized parent company Disney’s vaccine mandate and voiced her opinion on former President Obama identifying as Black instead of biracial.
Steele argued that ESPN selectively enforced its policy prohibiting employees from commenting on politics and social issues. According to her lawsuit, the network’s understanding of her comments was flawed, and they relied on inaccurate third-party accounts without properly reviewing the context of her remarks.
Steele had previously apologized for her comments, but claimed that the apology was coerced by ESPN.
Steele’s career at ESPN began in 2007 after her time at Comcast SportsNet. She became a prominent figure on “SportsCenter” and also made appearances on “NBA Countdown.”
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