ESPN may be having an identity crisis.
Apparently seeking to douse the latest fire caused by an anchor’s defamatory jab at President Trump, ESPN President John Skipper issued a reminder to staffers about the network’s mission.
“ESPN is about sports,” the president of the sports network which has frequently been in the middle of political controversy lately, said in an internal memo obtained by CNN.
— CNN (@CNN) September 15, 2017
“ESPN is not a political organization. Where sports and politics intersect, no one is told what view they must express,” Skipper wrote in the memo that, though it never mentioned SportsCenter host Jemele Hill by name, certainly seemed like a response to the uproar caused by Hill calling Trump a “white supremacist.”
Hill’s insult set off a wave of criticism, triggering day-long coverage on news networks as her tweets were called a “fireable offense” by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Trump called on the network to “apologize for untruth!”
But ESPN did not condemn Hill or remove her from her position, a move that some vehemently opposed. Al Sharpton ominously warned of a boycott of the network and promised the “wrath” of the civil rights community if Hill was fired.
“I want to remind everyone about fundamental principles at ESPN,” Skipper began in his memo, in which he said “‘sticking to sports’ is not so simple.”
— BallerAlert (@balleralert) September 16, 2017
“We have issues of significant debate in our country at this time. Our employees are citizens and appropriately want to participate in the public discussion. That can create a conflict for our public facing talent between their work and their personal points of view,” Skipper continued. “Given this reality, we have social media policies which require people to understand that social platforms are public and their comments on them will reflect on ESPN. At a minimum, comments should not be inflammatory or personal.”
Of course, the network president may want to heed his own advice as ESPN has repeatedly made its political bias quite obvious.
“In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position,” Skipper told his staff.
His memo sparked another round of reaction on Twitter.
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ESPN going down like Hindeburg thanks to liberal jackass John Skipper at helm.https://t.co/ZTw5NF7DMD
— Wayne Allyn Root (@WayneRoot) September 16, 2017
should have said that a long time ago. Even though I’m a democrat people watch ESPN for sports not political opinions
— Angie Beechan (@LuvSavingMoney) September 15, 2017
@espn When you have to release a memo to employees saying stop being political it’s too late…you have already become political.
— Jim (@sfranger23) September 16, 2017
They fired curt schilling and suspended Linda Cohn for conservative views expressed off air– double standard !
— Brian (@btim10) September 16, 2017
ESPN now resembles the ESPN I loved a few years ago, as much as MTV now resembles the MTV of my youth.
— Gene Yaws (@GeneYaws) September 15, 2017
Next you’re gonna say that CNN is about news. ???
— Stephen K (@Gator_Country) September 16, 2017
ESPN: This conflagration just seems to keep growing. We need to control it.
Skipper: Hand me that gas can.
— Wendell_Barnhouse (@WBBBPB) September 15, 2017
I’m so sick and tired of Hollywood athletes entertainers trying to lecture people with real lives how they should live
— Tuttles Rebuttals (@TuttleRebuttal) September 16, 2017
At this point Pravda is more believable than an ESPN management release/memo.
— BeerPOTUS (@BeerPOTUS) September 16, 2017
From now on they’ll be focusing on sports?
— Derrick (@Derrick4523) September 15, 2017
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