Controversial sportscaster, Sage Steele, is officially a free agent after settling her lawsuit with ESPN after being suspended by the network for her public comments previously made on an outside podcast about getting vaccinated, how women dress, and former President Barack Obama’s lineage.
Taking to social media, Steele, who joined ESPN in 2007, announced that she recently settled a lawsuit with her employer after she was suspended in 2021 for the problematic comments.
“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele said. “I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”
As noted previously reported, in a 2022 lawsuit, Steele charged the companies had breached her contract and violated her free-speech rights; alleging that Disney and ESPN retaliated against her for the comments she made during the podcast, hosted by Jay Cutler, taking away high-profile assignments.
An ESPN spokesperson confirmed her departure in a statement to CNN, noting that the decision to depart was mutual.
“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways. We thank her for her many contributions over the years,” the network said.
As previously reported, in 2021, Steele made a number of controversial comments on a podcast. While talking about ESPN’s company vaccine mandate, Steele said she respects an individual’s decision to get the Covid-19 vaccine “but to mandate it is sick, and it’s scary to me.”
In addition to questioning mandates, she also questioned former President, Barack Obama’s, decision to identify as Black on the national census, saying:
“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president.’ That’s his thing. I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his White mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
Steele also trended heavily that year, for the comments she made regarding female sports reporters and sexual harassment, saying that women need to “be responsible” and it “isn’t just on players and athletes and coaches to act a certain way, saying:
“I’ve had talks with young women … they’re like, ‘Oh, would you look at my tape?’ and I’ve said listen, I would love to. But the way you present yourself is not something I want to be associated with. So when you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too.”
As noted by CNN, in response, Steele apologized saying her comments “created controversy” and that “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.”