ESPN suspended Jemele Hill on Monday after what the network described as her “second violation of our social media guidelines.” Hill will be sidelined for two weeks after a series of tweets in which she suggested fans boycott Dallas Cowboys advertisers if they were upset about how team owner Jerry Jones said any player who took a knee during the national anthem would be benched. The owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross, has also called on his players to stand.
The suspension came less than a month after Hill apologized for calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter. At the time, even the White House got involved in the controversy with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Hill’s comments were “a fireable offense by ESPN.”
“This play always work,” Hill wrote Sunday linking to a tweet that listed a few of the team’s advertisers. “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”
On Monday she wrote another two series of tweets on the issue, making it clear she wasn’t “advocating a NFL boycott” but rather pointing out the “unfair burden” that has been put on some players. “If fans really are that upset about what JJ & Stephen Ross have done, don’t call the players sellouts, but you’re watching every Sunday,” Hill added.
After the controversy surrounding her “white supremacist” tweet, Hill expressed regret for her words about Trump. “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” Hill said last month. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
In an essay she wrote for ESPN’s the Undefeated about her experience with that controversy, Hill wrote that “the most difficult part for me has been watching ESPN become a punching bag and seeing a dumb narrative kept alive about the company’s political leanings.” Although Hill insisted she couldn’t turn a blind eye to issues she cared about, “Twitter wasn’t the place to vent my frustrations because, fair or not, people can’t or won’t separate who I am on Twitter from the person who co-hosts the 6 p.m. SportsCenter.” She also recognized that she probably needed “to take some classes about how to exercise better self-control on Twitter. Lesson learned.”