Last week, Sage Steele announced that she had left ESPN after her 16+ year run as a sports anchor, reporter and host.
Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely. I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!#SteeleStrong
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) August 15, 2023
In 2021, Steele criticized ESPN and Walt Disney Company’s mandate for employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on former NFL Quarterback Jay Cutler’s podcast. This led to ESPN removing the Indiana Hoosier graduate for 10-days in October 2021. Seven months later in May 2022, she filed a lawsuit against her employer.
“My lawsuit went for a year and a half almost. I’ve kind of had a long time to mourn, so to speak, mourn the ending even though I didn’t know when it was going to happen. Once you file a lawsuit against your employer, you know it’s going to end prematurely. I knew it was coming.” Steele said on the Query & Company Thursday afternoon.
Despite knowing her time with the World-Wide Leader in Sports was coming to an end, it still doesn’t change the fact it was hard for her to leave her dream job. “I am heartbroken at how it ended. I am heartbroken over feeling like I had to make a decision to the point where I had to stand up to myself. I don’t feel like I should’ve ever been in that position.”
Many anchors, reporters, athletes, etc. receive a lot of criticism when speaking out against certain topics. “There’s a lot of people who just say, just stay quiet and shut up, get your money, and do your dream job. I think that’s what a lot of people have done and not just in TV, not just at ESPN, like all across the country. I have done that for many many years.”
A message that the former WISH-TV8 anchor wanted to send was to have the courage to stand up for what you think is right as a person. “I had a decision to make that was very personal as far as I wanted to be treated as a very loyal employee. When there are different rules for different people, that’s when I find it unacceptable. All I ever wanted was consistency, and if everyone else can speak their minds about many topics that have zero to do with sports, even on ESPN platforms and on their social media, then I can do the same. Especially when it’s issues that I’m asked about that are pertaining to me in my decisions in my life as a biracial woman.”
There’s a cliche that when you’re going through something to the extent that Sage Steele was, you find out who your true friends are. “I’ve met some incredible people and the people I have heard from over the last week, it’s just a reminder. I felt very alone at times through this process. You do find out who your real friends are so to speak when you go through something like this.”
Now that Steele’s run with ESPN is over, she doesn’t know what is in store next for her. “I have a strong faith, and I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, even though I don’t know what tomorrow brings.” She’s a single mother of three kids that are 21, 19, and 17. Right now, she plans on being a mother and spending time with her children.
To listen to Jake Query and Jimmy Cook’s conversation with Sage Steele, download the podcast containing the conversation below! You can always listen to the Query & Company from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. on 93.5/107.5 The Fan. You can also watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.
The post Sage Steele Speaks Out About ESPN Career After Settlement: ‘I Am Heartbroken At How It Ended’ appeared first on NewsOne.