OpEd: Sage Steele May Not Be A Sellout But She Is Problematic, Here’s Why
*** All opinions expressed is the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Former ESPN anchor Sage Steele has not gone quietly into the night following her split from the sports network. Furthering her commitment to proving she was wronged due to her beliefs, Steele has been outspoken about what she believes has contributed to her being ostracized, largely, by the Black community.
For years, I’ve been called a “sellout” because I identify as biracial. Or that I’m “not black enough”. For all those biracial kids out there, I pray that you don’t wait as long as I did to realize that you don’t have to accept that hypocritical BS. You are perfect the way… https://t.co/48GsZtvPaG
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) August 18, 2023
According to NewsOne, Steele feels the biggest gripe being held against her is the choice she’s made to identify as biracial; rather than solely Black.
In an interview with former NBC News anchor and right-wing conservative Megyn Kelly, the 50-year-old sports journalist claims she’s been labeled a “sellout” for embracing her white ethnicity. Steele seems to have drawn false equivalence between her right to identify as she sees fit and the way in which she’s distanced herself from community support by spouting problematic views on key issues. Though her issues with ESPN may have started due to her critique of their COVID-19 vaccine policy; Steele’s reputation for being on the wrong side of history began long before.
In 2017, Steele made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show where she chastised former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem, expressing that she supported team owners for not wanting to hire him.
“I just disagree with the whole premise of the issue that people have”, Steele said at the time.
“Steve Bisciotti and the other 31 owners in this league, they run a business and they have a right to make the decision that is best for their business.”
Steele also publicly attacked her fellow Black ESPN peers, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, in a Wall Street Journal article claiming she’d been pushed out of a special called Time for Change: We Won’t Be Defeated, which would chronicle Black athletes who stood up to injustice.
Attempting to railroad other Black journalists has been a recurring issue for Steele who also gloated after Jemele Hill was suspended due to her criticism of former President Donald Trump.
That same year, Steele took to her Instagram to criticize anti-Trump protestors for delaying her flight, going as far as mentioning that they’d negatively impacted the immigrants they were marching in support of.
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When her comments about former President Barack Obama’s decision to identify as Black despite his African father’s “absence” in his life hit the internet, it was yet another reminder that Steele has often chosen similar talking points as those who are blatantly racist and anti-Black.
When she aligned herself alongside men accused of sexual harassment in the workplace by placing the blame on the way women choose to dress, it showed she was unable—or unwilling—to be a constructive voice of support on social issues, as well.
Perhaps her position in the court of public opinion is not a matter of identity but a matter of a problematic person receiving the exact attention she’s ordered for years.