One month after the White House suggested Jemele Hill should've been fired for calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist, Trump has chimed in on the SportsCenter anchor, saying "it is no wonder ESPN ratings have 'tanked.' "
Hill, a Detroit native and Michigan State alum, was suspended two weeks by ESPN for "a second violation" of the network's social media policy Monday, drawing outrage even from several ESPN colleagues. She tweeted a night earlier that fans should boycott Dallas Cowboys advertisers if they're upset with owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench players who are "disrespectful to the flag."
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning: "With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have "tanked," in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!"
Trump is referring to ESPN's steady ratings decline over the past few years, largely due to customers "cutting the cord" on cable.
As players around the NFL continue to use the national anthem as a way to protest social injustice and police brutality, Trump has made his disapproval of the protests clear.
Vice President Mike Pence garnered headlines Sunday when he attended a game hosted by his hometown Indianapolis Colts, then abruptly left after several San Francisco 49ers kneeled during the anthem, saying: "I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag or our National Anthem."
Hill, meanwhile, has long been vocal of her disapproval of President Trump. Last month, in a series of tweets, Hill called Trump a white supremacist and said he "is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime."
The comments stirred a firestorm on Twitter, leading ESPN to respond with a statement calling her tweets "inappropriate." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later suggested Hill's remarks were a "fireable offense."
Hill co-hosts the 6 p.m. SportsCenter with Michael Smith and has been with ESPN since 2006. She previously wrote for the Detroit Free Press from 1999-2005, primarily covering Michigan State sports.
Contact Brian Manzullo: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrianManzullo.
Detroit Free Press