Sports | September 21, 2017 9:46 am

Variety: ESPN’s Missed Opportunity With ‘SportsCenter’ Host Jemele Hill

The Hollywood trade magazine argues that bad publicity is always good publicity.

ESPN Faces Yet Another Controversy, This Time Courtesy of 'SportsCenter' Host
ESPN's SC6, Michael Smith and Jemele Hill interview Doris Burke before Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors on June 1, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

It’s been a little over a week since ESPN was in the news, following the Jemele Hill tweet-gate saga—and the story’s already fading into obscurity.

Some of the blame goes squarely to the ’round-the-clock news cycle, which seems to swallow up everything in its path. But as Variety‘s Andrew Wallenstein argues, some of it falls on ESPN itself, who had a chance to take it and run with it, and did nothing.

With declining subscriptions and a volley of criticism from conservatives, who claim the network is lefty-friendly, what ESPN should’ve done, says Wallenstein, was see where Hill could’ve taken it. “Why not explore the upside that could come if Hill was actually encouraged to continue to be publicly political?” he asks. Would it be so bad for ESPN to take a political stance? Or put her on Good Morning America to give her side of the story? She could be ESPN’s Megyn Kelly.

All of this could’ve brought much-needed attention and ratings to the network.