After a two-week suspension, Jemele Hill returned to ESPN Sportscenter on Monday, Oct. 23. Hill was suspended earlier in the month for tweets directed at Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the NFL.
In the tweets, Hill called for fans to boycott advertisers of the Cowboys. The tweets were in response to Jones threatening to bench Cowboys players, if they kneel during the National Anthem.
ESPN wasn’t pleased with Hill’s comments, as ESPN and the NFL share many advertisers. ESPN considered it her second violation of their social media policy, as they came shortly after her tweets calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
In an interview with TMZ Sports, Hill said she deserved to be suspended by ESPN because she “put them in a bad spot.”
On Monday’s episode of “The Six,” Hill did not mention her suspension. She thanked co-host Michael Smith for “holding [the show] down” while she was gone before moving into the top stories of the day.
Prior to going on air, Hill thanked people for supporting her during the suspension, saying, “you did not do so in vain.”
While not everyone agreed with Hill’s tweets, most supported her following the announcement of her suspension. Hill’s message was that to truly create change in the NFL and with the owners, their bottom line must take a hit. She’s not wrong, but given the partnership between the NFL and ESPN, asking fans to lower the NFL’s bottom line is indirectly asking them to lower ESPN’s bottom line.
The fact that the tweets came just weeks after her direct comments about Donald Trump, which had the White House calling for her to be fired, was just poor timing on her part.
Hill plays a significant role at ESPN, evidenced by them awarding her and Michael Smith the six o’clock Sportscenter slot and renaming it “The Six.” Suspending Hill, instead of firing her, shows that they still have faith in her and what she brings to the network. “The Six” has been a critical success and ratings have held steadily.
Hill’s on-air personality has never come under question. I expect nothing will change when it comes to what we see on-screen. However, there’s no doubt that Hill will be more careful when it comes to her social media content.
It’s awesome to have Jemele back on “The Six.” Hopefully, she’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
– Jeremy Lambert