ESPN SportsCenter co-anchor and journalist Jemele Hill will be leaving her post on the 6 p.m. SportsCenter for other assignments within the company. Hill is expected to join the staff of The Undefeated, the ESPN microsite that fuses sports, race and culture, as well as also work with other parts of the Disney-owned company. Variety reports that according to those familiar with the decision, Hill was the one who made the request as part of her multi-year deal.
ESPN relaunched SportsCenter as SC6 in February 2017, with Hill and Michael Smith serving as the the broadcast’s new anchors. Seven months into her run, Hill found herself embroiled in both a social media war and national debate with President Donald Trump over a series of tweet wherein Hill criticized Trump; with The White House calling for Hill to be fired. ESPN distanced itself from Hill’s tweets, stating that they “do not represent the position of ESPN;” and would hit Hill with a two-week suspension for violating its social media policy.
Hill’s SC6 co-anchor Smith is expected to continue to anchor the hour on his own. It’s currently not known if ESPN will replace Hill on SportsCenter or whether Smith will continue as solo anchor.
Though Hill hasn’t released an official statement regrading the move, it’s easy to interpret her Twitter response from less than an hour ago to a tweet from someone who clearly wasn’t a fan: “This why I don’t like Jemele Hill. She can take something as great as the XFL and try to find a way to ruin it. I still probably won’t watch sports center unless Scott Van Pelt is on tho.”
:insert evil laugh:: https://t.co/KxTIrz8asG
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 26, 2018
In an interview with NPR from earlier this month, Hill discussed her reaction when she first heard that she (and her job) were the targets of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders‘ wrath:
“I was actually at work. We were putting the show together. And I have a couple of friends that cover politics, and one of them was in the White House briefing room. And she texted me. It was like, “You will not believe what just happened.” And she told me. And I was, like, “What!?!”
And so I go to Twitter and it’s everywhere. But my first reaction is still is my reaction — I thought it was kind of cool! I mean, I know that’s going to sound bizarre to people. Look, when I came up in journalism I had the pleasure to be a lot around a lot of great journalists and people that I respect [who] take down public officials. And I’ve seen some of my friends who have had public officials call for them to be fired because they were upset about their reporting. For journalists, it’s kind of a badge of honor, you know what I’m saying?”