ESPN Sticks Up for Jemele Hill, Accepts Twitter Apology

Network goes to bat for 'SportsCenter' host after anti-Trump rant.

Jemele Hill Tweets 'Apology' to ESPN, Not Trump
ESPN journalist Jemele Hill provides commentary during the celebrity basketball game presented by Sprite during the 2016 BET Experience on June 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Rich Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Just a handful of days after SportsCenter host Jemele Hill tweeted a sextet of slanderous comments about President Trump—and ESPN, tail firmly between its legs, apologized—she has tweeted her own “apology,” in her words, “to address the elephant in the room”:

We put quotes around “apology,” because if you were hoping for a big mea culpa and groveling at the feet of Trump, this is not your tweet. Hill is clearly directing it at her employer, not the president, noting additionally, that “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs.”

Shortly after Hill’s tweet, ESPN released its own statement, going to bat for the SportsCenter host: “Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”

Hill’s original tweet—which sparked some racist, troll-y vitriol in and of itself—was about a story published by The Hill, entitled “Kid Rock accuses media of labeling him a racist, says he loves black people in letter teasing Senate bid.” Her tweet included a link to the article, preceded by a rather contentious opinion: “[Kid Rock] loves black people so much that he pandered to racists by using a flag that unquestionably stands for dehumanizing black people.”

At 4:57 p.m., Hill began by defending her tweet in the @-replies section, but then disappeared from the thread, only to reappear approximately three hours later to tweet the six @-replies that got her in hot water with ESPN—and even led White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to call for Hill’s job (ESPN appears not to be answering the call).

Some prominent verified Twitter accounts have come out on Hill’s side, tweeting their support (OK, we guess Tomi Lahren’s isn’t exactly a tweet of support, but at least the Fox Newser didn’t call for Hill’s head. That’s got to count for something, right?)

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