Ex-ESPN Commentator Sage Steele Criticizes Company’s ‘Double Standards’ Shortly Following Departure

An ex-SportsCenter anchor stepped down this week, having reached a settlement in her legal case against ESPN and its parent company, Disney.

“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” announced Sage Steele in a Tuesday X post.

“I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!”

At the age of 50, Steele departed from the “global sports authority” following nearly twenty years of service. Her decision stemmed from feeling restricted in her personal life and reportedly experiencing unequal treatment compared to her male peers.

“All I ever wanted was consistency,” Steele told Megyn Kelly during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s “The Megan Kelly Show.”

“And if we are allowing my peers to go on social media, much less on our own airwaves, saying things that have nothing to do with sports, that are political,” Steele continued, “then I should be allowed on my personal time to give my opinion on my experiences personally, without telling others what to do or how to feel being biracial or being forced to take a vaccine.

“I think that’s just what breaks my heart,” she added. “That there were different rules for me than everyone else.”

She also recounted an episode in which ESPN pushed her to apologize, despite her reluctance to do so.

“I did not want to apologize. I fought. I fought, and I begged and I screamed. And I was told that if I want to keep my job, I have to apologize. And I need my job,” Steele said.

She stressed that even after apologizing, difficulties continued, and she believed that chances were being stripped away from her.

Steele pointed out that the Rose Bowl Parade marked a crucial moment for her. While she had previously been involved in its coverage, she claimed to have been left out of this year’s event.

“I knew that, mentally, I had checked out and was heartbroken again at the hypocrisy of the rules,” she said. “A rule’s a rule for everybody or nobody. You can’t pick and choose, especially if it’s just one person. It’s just me.”

Within her legal complaint directed at ESPN, Steele asserted that the network had been applying its policy against discussing politics and social matters in a discriminatory manner.

In her lawsuit filed in April 2022, Steele contended that ESPN’s actions stemmed from misconceptions about her statements and a workplace policy that didn’t actually exist or wasn’t enforced.

Additionally, she argued through court documents that the network depended on external interpretations of her remarks without examining the actual comments or their surrounding context.