The ESPN host that last month called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter was suspended after doubling-down on her sports-related social justice activism by calling for a boycott of advertisers who align with Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones.
“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hill tweeted. “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers.”
If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don't place the burden squarely on the players. https://t.co/Gc48kchkuv
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
ESPN suspended Ms. Hill a second time for violating the network’s social media policy. It is unclear if the network will use baseball’s 3 strikes and you’re out or the NFL’s two feet in (your mouth) rule before firing her.
Jones publicly announced his position on the national anthem protests before Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
“I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
“We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects.” The NFL Players Association said in a statement responding to Jones’ mandate. “That is what makes us the land of the free and home of the brave.“
Unfortunately, the NFLPA misunderstands the protections the first amendment offers. It prevents the government from abridging a citizen’s right to express themselves, but it does not prevent their employers from taking punitive actions if the expression hurts their businesses.
Jemele’s activism is short-sighted. The NFL has taken a 30+ point drop in favorability by sports fans making it the least liked major sport in America after continuing national anthem protests hurt ticket sales and network ratings. Sponsors may soon find other places to go based on market pressure. With her highly-political move, it isn’t likely to be anything ESPN is involved with.
A “buycott” as it’s called, won’t hurt the owner as much as the players. Renewing players’ contracts will likely be much stingier to match the reduction in revenues. It will also continue to turn off fans who have refused to buy, and in some cases burned, protesting player’s paraphernalia.
Why hasn’t ESPN fired her? Just imagine the backlash against the sports network in today’s protest culture.