Sports | September 19, 2017 2:51 pm

ESPN Public Editor Goes on Viral Twitter Rant to Defend Himself

After clumsily chastising Jemele Hill's anti-Trump tweets, Jim Brady ignites his own firestorm.

Massive Layoffs Hit ESPN
(Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

ESPN public editor Jim Brady went on a long and convoluted Twitterstorm to publish, backtrack, and then clarify his position on ESPN SportsCenter host Jemele Hill’s statements about President Trump. (And along the way, Brady also publicly fired, via Twitter, a freelancer who referred to him as the “dumbest person alive.”)

A quick refresh: In a series of tweets on Sept. 11, Hill, who co-hosts the 6:00pm SportsCenter—”The Six”—with fellow African-American commentator Michael Smith, referred to President Trump as a “white supremacist” who is the “most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”

“His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period,” Hill tweeted. Her comments inspired a wave of backlash and controversy; ESPN released a statement saying the opinions were Hill’s alone and did not reflect the views of the company. The network even reportedly tried to boot Hill off the air, but was stymied when her co-host and other colleagues refused to do the show without her. Hill has since issued an apology to ESPN, notably leaving out an apology to President Trump himself. (For the record, he wants one.)

Enter Brady. On September 16, he published a column saying that he believes Hill made a mistake, saying that while she may hate the president, she is a high-profile TV host working for a major media company that has clearly established rules for how its employees should engage in political discussions.

“With the salary and prominence ESPN provides Hill comes some responsibility to play by the network’s rules, and, in this case, she crossed the line set by management just five months ago, when ESPN released revised guidelines about political discussions,” Brady wrote, citing said guidelines, which says employees should avoid “personal attacks or inflammatory rhetoric.”

“While one’s definition of what is inflammatory or a personal attack depends to some extent on your world view, but it’s hard to argue that ‘white supremacist’ isn’t pushing that line,” Brady wrote.

Thus, the tweetstorm. Deadspin reported that Brady received a “significant amount of feedback” following the column’s publication, and then tried to “clarify his thoughts on an even more restrictive medium.” Following additional backlash from his tweets, he screenshotted them, deleted them, then re-uploaded them with new tweets. 

As always, think before you tweet.