ESPN suspends Jamele Hill for kinda sorta urging a boycott of NFL advertisers

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday October 10th, 2017

Strike two.

Apparently there is a limit to ESPN's willingness to promote liberal political causes: When it threatens to cost ESPN millions and jeopardize its own existence.

You can't expect Jamele Hill to understand any of this. Liberal spouters rarely do. Hold your tongue for fear of bringing one hell of a big problem on your employer, and you're a "sellout" as Hill herself might say. Be advised before you hire anyone with a high-profile social media platform to make sure they're more concerned about your best interests than they are about impressing the woke left.

In a nutshell, ESPN would be in big trouble without its NFL broadcast contract. And when you have an important client, it's not usually a good idea for your employees to be going around suggesting that maybe people should boycott the client's revenue sources. Does Jamele Hill understand or appreciate any of this?

What do you think?

Hill, an outspoken liberal, tweeted that Jones “has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones… If they don't kneel, some will see them as sellouts.”

Jemele Hill called President Trump a "white supremacist."

The ESPN host wrote, “By drawing a line in the sand, Jerry put his players under more scrutiny and threw them under the bus... If the rationale behind JJ's stance is keeping the fanbase happy, make him see that he is underestimated how all of his fanbase feels.”

She urged “paying customers” to “boycott his advertisers” if they don’t agree with Jones’ comments. Hill quoted a list of Cowboys’ advertisers in one of her tweets, which included AT&T, Bank of America, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Ford Motors, MillerCoors and Pepsi, and sent a message to her 760,000-plus Twitter followers.

“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hill wrote. “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers.”

ESPN, the network that employs Hill, agreed to pay $15.2 billion in 2011 to air the NFL’s “Monday Night Football,” according to The New York Times. Although Hill got off with no formal suspension after calling Trump a "white supremacist," it remains to be seen what the sports network might do now that she has gone after the most lucrative team in professional sports.

“The NFL is the biggest crutch keeping ESPN alive. If the NFL cuts ties, which would be reasonable if the network’s employees start calling for a boycott, ESPN would be in massive trouble,” Daily Caller’s David Hookstead wrote. “Not sure how happy ESPN management will be with an employee telling NFL fans to boycott NFL related sponsors, given the fact that ESPN needs the NFL to stay alive.”

ESPN needs the NFL to stay alive, and the NFL desperately needs this public relations nightmare to go away, and as quickly as possible. But it's not going away because NFL owners helped to create the monster by coddling the anthem-kneelers when they should have told them enough already.

Every week it's happening. Come Sunday evening we're talking a little bit about football and one whole hell of a lot about protests, followed for days on end by discussions about boycotts and the like. And to think all this started over a lie.

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

But let's go back to Jamele Hill for a second. This is now her second violation of ESPN's employee social media policy because, however much they may detest President Trump, it's really not considered good form (nor is it the truth) to call the president of the United States a white supremacist. That did absolutely no harm to Trump because it's patently ridiculous, and brought all kinds of negative attention on ESPN at the very time they were trying to fend off growing criticism for politicizing sports.

Now she comes back and not only gets political again, but this time encourages behavior that would compromise the financial well-being of one of her employer's most important business associations. Not too smart.

I realize that the people you see on the air at ESPN are media personalities and not business experts. They're not the ones doing the financial deals for the network. But is it really possible to work for ESPN and not understand that telling people to boycott NFL advertisers is probably not too good for business, and that this might come back to bite you with your own employer? Or is someone like Jamele Hill so hopelessly woke that she'd consider it a huge sellout to even care? And if that's the case, ESPN, good luck surviving with the kinds of people you've decided to make the faces of your network.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!