A former host of ESPN’s SporstCenter resigned this week after settling a lawsuit she filed against the network and its corporate parent Disney.
“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” announced Sage Steele in a Tuesday X post.
“I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”
Steele, 50, left the “worldwide leader in sports” after almost two decades of work from frustration with being controlled in her personal life and allegedly treated different than her male colleagues.
“All I ever wanted was consistency,” Steele told Megyn Kelly during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s “The Megan Kelly Show.”
“And if we are allowing my peers to go on social media, much less on our own airwaves, saying things that have nothing to do with sports, that are political,” Steele continued, “then I should be allowed on my personal time to give my opinion on my experiences personally, without telling others what to do or how to feel being biracial or being forced to take a vaccine.
“I think that’s just what breaks my heart,” she added. “That there were different rules for me than everyone else.”
She also recalled an incident where she felt pressured by ESPN to apologize, even though she didn’t want to.
“I did not want to apologize. I fought. I fought, and I begged and I screamed. And I was told that if I want to keep my job, I have to apologize. And I need my job,” Steele said.
She emphasized that despite her apology, challenges persisted, and she felt that opportunities were taken away from her.
Steele said the Rose Bowl Parade was a significant turning point for her. She had covered the event in the past but was allegedly excluded from its coverage this year.
“I knew that, mentally, I had checked out and was heartbroken again at the hypocrisy of the rules,” she said. “A rule’s a rule for everybody or nobody. You can’t pick and choose, especially if it’s just one person. It’s just me.”
In her lawsuit against ESPN, Steele accused the network of selectively enforcing its policy that prohibits news employees from discussing politics and social issues.
Her April 2022 lawsuit alleged ESPN’s actions were based on a misunderstanding of her comments and a nonexistent and unenforced workplace policy.
She further claimed in court documents that the network relied on third-party interpretations of her remarks without reviewing the actual comments or their context.