After less than a year, journalist and commentator Jemele Hill has decided to leave her hosting position at ESPN SportsCenter to remain on the network’s online platform, The Undefeated, as announced by Hill on January 26, 2018. In her reasoning, Hill explained her autonomous decision to leave was because the show lacked “writing and reporting,” despite speculation from critics that she was removed from the platform.
“There is an old adage that says, the heart wants what it wants,” Hill said in a statement.
“I started at ESPN 11 years ago as a columnist and, while I have worn many hats in the time since, my true love always has been writing, reporting and commentary.”
In a recent CNN interview with Al Sharpton, Hill further explains that her decision to leave SportsCenter was because she missed reporting and writing.
“Every day you get further from the action. You start missing being in the field,” Hill said, discussing her experience as an anchor.
Speculation from critics on why Hill has moved on from SportsCenter can also be traced to September when Hill made news for calling President Trump a “white supremacist” in the wake of the heightened NFL “take a knee” controversy which widely protested the unfair treatment of Black Americans by police enforcement. This was demonstrated by NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem before each game.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 14, 2017
These headlines resulted in an October 2-week suspension from ESPN as Hill violated the network’s social media policy in her tweets. On social media, Hill also suggested that NFL fans should boycott advertisers and vendors associated with the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner, Jerry Jones, stated that his players would stand for the national anthem or be benched from playing.
Hill will continue as a senior columnist and chief correspondent for TheUndefeated.com, an online platform produced by ESPN that discusses the intersection athletics, social issues, and race. It is there where she will continue to use her journalistic voice to bring to light the issues prevalent in today’s social climate. She will additionally continue to contribute commentary to other ESPN programs, such as “SportsCenter,” “Outside the Lines,” “Around the Horn” and “Highly Questionable” and will move from Bristol, Connecticut, to Washington, DC
“If this was supposed to be a ruse to bury me somewhere in a corner of ESPN, I didn’t get that feeling,” Hill said. “I know it may not be the sexiest story to tell, but the truth is I miss writing and reporting.”