Sage Steele Suing ESPN For Allegedly Violating Her Free Speech After Claims They Punished Her Over Comments Made On Jay Cutler’s Podcast

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  • SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele is suing ESPN for allegedly violating her free speech.
  • Steele claims the company broke the law when they punished her over comments she made on Jay Cutler’s podcast
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SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele is taking ESPN to court.

On Wednesday night, the Wallstreet Journal reported that Steele, who is currently the 6 pm SportsCenter anchor, is suing ESPN/Disney for violating her free speech after she claims the company suspended her over some controversial comments she made on Jay Cutler’s podcast last year.

Via Wallstreet Journal

SPN anchor Sage Steele sued the network and its parent, Walt Disney Co. DIS -0.48% , alleging the company retaliated against her for comments she made in a podcast interview, breaching her contract and violating her free-speech rights.

In comments last September on a podcast hosted by former National Football League quarterback Jay Cutler, Ms. Steele touched on political and social topics, questioning Covid-19 vaccine mandates and former President Barack Obama’s decision to identify as Black instead of biracial.

After Ms. Steele’s remarks drew criticism in the press and on social media, ESPN forced her to issue an apology and temporarily benched her, according to the suit, which was served in Connecticut, where the network is based.

The complaint says ESPN’s handling of Ms. Steele’s situation was an example of selective enforcement of a network policy that bars news personnel from taking positions on political or social issues.

ESPN has “violated Connecticut law and Steele’s rights to free speech based upon a faulty understanding of her comments and a nonexistent, unenforced workplace policy that serves as nothing more than pretext,” according to the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The NY Post’s Ryan Glasspeigel reports that Steele will remain on air amid the lawsuit.

Via NY Post

Sage remains a valued contributor on some of ESPN’s highest profile content, including the recent Masters telecasts and anchoring our noon ‘SportsCenter,’ ” an ESPN spokesperson said in a statement. “As a point of fact, she was never suspended.”

A source with knowledge of ESPN told The Post that Steele will remain on-air amid the lawsuit. Her contract is not up for “a while,” a second source said.