Multiple media outlets are reporting that Jemele Hill is leaving ESPN’s 6pm SportsCenter, SC6 and heading off to join the staff of ESPN’s The Undefeated. The Undefeated is ESPN’s version of its “woke” site. The move from SportsCenter to The Undefeated by Hill is reportedly a change she requested. Her co-anchor, Michael Smith, reportedly will remain as host of SC6.
Jemele Hill and Michael Smith had a podcast together prior to becoming co-host of SC6. The highly rated “His & Hers” podcast was enough for the network to want to make the move from podcast to tv show. Smith and Hill followed their same successful podcast formula when they made the transition to tv. A formula that fans of the show loved. A mixture of sports, comedy, and social issues concerning the black community. It was a formula that worked well for Smith and Hill. Once again, ESPN chased ratings. They decided to move Hill and Smith from a 2pm prime slot to a prime time slot and host of SportsCenter’s 6pm program. The move was surely a substantial pay raise, but the move was never going to allow Hill and Smith’s successful formula to work. There is a certain group of people in the world that believe love in one’s self and blackness is somehow hate for them and their whiteness. This thought by this group of people has become more and more transparent during this current administration. People were openly calling Jemele Hill a race-baiter because this black woman had the audacity to speak her mind. Women like Jemele Hill, who speak their minds, are a direct threat to people who have a fear of blackness. Jemele Hill spoke her mind when she called Donald Trump a racist. It was something many other people have said time and time again on many other networks. But when this black woman said it, it was suddenly blasphemy. People who never watched SportsCenter a day in their lives were calling for Hill to be fired. Even White House Spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Hill’s firing during her daily press briefing. No one else was mentioned, just Jemele Hill. Almost like she was purposely being singled out for a reason. Seeing one of their employees singled out by the president’s daily mouthpiece was enough to send ESPN into a panic. They suspended Hill. Hill returned to the show a few weeks later, but the damage had already been done. The fact that her employer, ESPN would not have her back if push came to shove was put on display. ESPN caved to the demands of this administration and its supporters because they believed that their ratings would be negatively effected if they didn’t.
If the move from SC6 to the Undefeated was actually Hill’s own doing and not a cover-up by the network for a demotion, you can surely expect Hill to continue speaking her mind like she has always been doing. In my honest opinion, I would consider moving away from ESPN period if I were Hill. Why continue to work for a network that clearly won’t have your back when push comes to shove? ESPN is not the only game in town. Maybe it’s time some “real” competition came along to remind them of this. As much as networks wanted to avoid this, it has become apparent that this administration has split this Country in every way possible. Good & Bad. Right & Wrong. Racist & Not Racist. At some point, everyone will be forced to pick a side. There is a right side and there is a wrong side. No matter which side you pick, your decision will be remembered in the future. Collapsing under the pressure instead of standing up for your employees against a clearly racist regime is the same as supporting that regime. People will remember.