ESPN analyst Sage Steele talks on set during Game Four of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on June 7, 2019 in Oakland, California.

Rey José II | NBA Photos | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Sage Steele and ESPN have parted ways.

The longtime SportsCenter anchor said on the website X, formerly known as Twitter, that she is exiting Disney’Following a lawsuit settlement with the ESPN network.

steel sued on In 2022 the network alleged that the company retaliated against it notes He talked about the COVID vaccine and other political and social issues in a podcast interview with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.

“After successfully settling my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so that I can more freely exercise my First Amendment rights,” Steele said. wrote Tuesday at X. “I am grateful for so many amazing experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”

In her lawsuit against ESPN and its parent company, the anchor alleged that her contract and free speech rights were violated after she was “sidelined” following her podcast appearance.

“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways,” an ESPN spokesperson said Tuesday. “We thank them for their many contributions over the years.”

During a September 2021 podcast, Sage said he had been vaccinated against COVID, but described the company’s vaccine mandate as “sick”.

he also made notes Regarding former President Barack Obama’s race, he said, “Barack Obama chose to be black and he’s biracial… Congratulations to the president, that’s his thing. I think it’s interesting because his black father is nowhere to be found.” But his white mother and grandmother raised him.” Sage also accused the late Barbara Walters of humiliating her for identifying as biracial.

Steele is the daughter of West Point’s first black football player, Gary Steele, and Mona Steele, a white woman.

During the same podcast, Steele also suggested that women who dress provocatively in the workplace are responsible for the sexism they may experience.

Shortly after the podcast, Steele apologized for his comments, saying, “I recognize that my recent comments have caused controversy for the company, and I apologize. We are in the midst of extremely challenging times that we affects everyone, and that’s even more important.” We always communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”

Following his comments, Steele said in his lawsuit that media coverage “exploded” and that, in “an instant reaction”, ESPN and its parent company forced him to make a public apology and shortly thereafter fired him for a short period of time. suspended for.

Steele said in the lawsuit that she was protected by the First Amendment and had done nothing wrong because she was interviewed on the podcast as a private citizen rather than an ESPN employee.

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