Sage Steele is still speaking about her final days at ESPN following a bitter split between the two parties.
Steele announced her departure from the network this August, walking away from what was her “dream job” after spending 16 years with The Worldwide Leader in Sports. The 50-year-old sued ESPN last April after she was taken off the air for nearly two weeks for sharing her opinion on the company’s COVID-19 mandates.
It’s understood that the punishment also came as a result of her questioning former U.S. President Barack Obama’s identifying as black on the census, as well as her discussing the way female reporters present themselves in locker rooms.
“The hardest thing I’ve done. In my professional career, for sure,” she told Fox News Digital this week. “And it’s up there probably top two personally because I knew that by truly taking a stand, it was going to mean something with legal action. And once you take legal action, your time at a company is probably not going to last much longer.
“Just knowing that I was the one who was going to make the decision to end it was very overwhelming.”
She also went into some detail about the aforementioned trio of issues that ultimately led to the split.
“The three controversial topics about my thoughts with women in sports and just how we present ourselves,” Steele explained. “That’s my opinion, that’s my experience through 25 [years] at the time, 27 years in this industry, many times as the only woman in locker rooms, etc. That’s my experience and my opinion.
“About being biracial and why I choose to acknowledge both my mother and my father. That’s my opinion and that’s my experience. And that’s what I am. I’m both and I’m proud. So, I didn’t think that really was an issue. I was telling a story on something that involved ‘The View’ and Barbara Walters from 2014, when Barbara Walters brought up comparing me to Barack Obama. So, this is seven years prior. To me, this was old news. It was just another person asked me a question about why I’m so passionate about acknowledging both sides of my family.
“And, finally, with the vaccine. The mandate. And I was very careful to make sure that I respected everybody’s opinions. And that my issue was with being forced to do it. And the fact that I had complied. I had literally just come from getting the mandatory shot. I waited until the very last second because I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it. So, I complied but still could have an opinion.”
Steele admitted having made a forced apology because she would have been fired otherwise.
“I was livid. I was fighting it, but I was told by my agent that if I didn’t apologize, then I would not have a job,” she added.
“I didn’t have a choice, and I had to apologize. And I was forced to work with their head PR guy.
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