Sage Steele settled her lawsuit with ESPN and its parent company Disney, after 16 years of working for the network.
On a recent episode of SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show,” former “SportsCenter” anchor and Catholic Sage Steele spoke out regarding her lawsuit.
After 16.5 years with the network, Steele was “sidelined” for controversial comments she made in 2021 (on her day off) on the “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast.
After sharing opinions about former President Obama and ESPN’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which forced her to take the vaccine or risk being fired, ESPN retaliated against her. Even after publicly apologizing to keep her job, the company still suspended her in Oct. 2021.
ESPN is no stranger to offering unwarranted opinions.
In fact, several of Steele’s former colleagues, including Michael Eaves, Jemele Hill, Stephen Smith, and Max Kellerman, made political comments on-air about former President Donald Trump and race relations after George Floyd’s death.
ESPN broadcasters Elle Dunkin, Carolyn Peck, and Courtney Lyle even asked for a moment of silence for solidarity in opposition to Gov. Ron DeSantis' Parental Rights bill last year.
“It’s fine to speak out on dicey, political, or cultural issues at ESPN if you're not named Sage Steele," Megyn Kelly says.
“There were different rules for me than everyone else," Steele responds. "I was heartbroken again at the hypocrisy of the rules. Either the rules are a rule for everybody or nobody, but you can’t pick and choose, especially if it's just one person.”
The network took away several of Steele's rightfully-earned assignments and responsibilities. She noted that several of her peers harassed her and ESPN failed to act on her behalf.
Former Steelers player Ryan Clark even refused to be on air with Steele and faced no backlash from the company; this happened again with actress Halle Berry after she refused to interview with Steele.
Amidst the constant attacks and what Steele believed to be violations of her rights, she contacted lawyer Bryan Freeman. Steele then sued ESPN, claiming they violated her right to free speech and Connecticut employment law.
During this process, Steele recalls being suspended, publicly attacked without any support from ESPN, and sick at home unable to see her children. She shared that though her parents took a health risk by coming to visit her, it made all the difference.
According to Steele, the morning she returned to work, her father led them in reciting the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer.
“Every single day from that moment on…until the last day I went on air recently, I called my parents as I pulled into ESPN and we said the prayer together. Every single day. So I knew that I would be okay. I did feel protected by God, by my mommy and my daddy, and at fifty, I still needed my parents” Steele says.
She shares that some former colleagues thanked her for her courage, saying, “Thank you for standing up and for saying what I can’t say. Please don’t go silent again.”
Steele says her small circle of friends, her family, and God pulled her through.
Watch the clip below:
Toward the end of Kelly’s podcast, Steele scolded ESPN for remaining silent on the biggest current sports issue: transgender athletes dominating women’s sports.
She points to the hypocrisy of former female colleagues tearfully speaking about abortion on-air, yet remaining silent about the harm of biological men in women’s sports.
Steele claims several of her former colleagues share her viewpoint and refuse to speak about it.
It remains clear that ESPN will support its anchors who discuss political views in line with the network and will make a public example out of those who dare to think for themselves.