Sage Steele, a seasoned ESPN sportscaster who gained prominence in recent times due to her opinions on contentious subjects such as COVID-19 vaccinations, has departed from the Disney sports corporation.
Having joined ESPN in 2007, Steele revealed on social media that she recently reached a resolution in a legal case against her employer. This lawsuit stemmed from her suspension in 2021, a consequence of remarks she shared on an external podcast. These remarks touched upon vaccination, the attire preferences of women, and the ancestry of former President Barack Obama.
“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele said.
She further added, “I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”
In a 2022 lawsuit, Steele claimed that Disney and ESPN fired her from high-profile jobs in retaliation for comments she made on the Jay Cutler-hosted podcast. She claimed that the businesses had violated her free speech rights and her contract.
In response, ESPN stated the following:
“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways. We thank her for her many contributions over the years.”
In response to declining viewership and advertising, ESPN, under its parent company’s guidance, has been striving to reduce expenses. This effort has involved parting ways with well-known announcers and analysts such as Keyshawn Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jalen Rose.
While Disney’s significant investment in sports rights has contributed to ESPN’s historical success, the company must now be cautious about expenses. This is especially crucial since the traditional customer base, which once subscribed to ESPN through cable or satellite, is now exploring alternative ways to access their sports content.