Political

ESPN replaces Sage Steele on 'NBA Countdown' amid network's decision to limit on-air talent's political commentary

Fox411: ESPN replaces Sage Steele amid network's decision to limit on-air talent's political commentary

 

Sage Steele has been replaced by Michelle Beadle on ESPN's "NBA Countdown."

Steele has been with ESPN for a decade, and has been at the center of several controversies in recent months regarding her conservative political views. In January, Steele came under fire when she complained about protesters of President Donald Trump's travel ban, causing her to miss her flights.

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She also faced heat for abruptly ending an interview with Arcade Fire lead singer Win Butler after he voiced his left-leaning political opinions at the NBA's Celebrity All-Star Game, and for criticizing NFL players' decision to kneel for the National Anthem.

Most recently, Steele found herself in hot water after saying at a conference in February that the "worst racism that I have received ... is from black people."

"There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing," she added.

The staffing shake-up comes amid the network's newly-issued guidelines aimed to limit on-air talent's political commentary.

"Given the intense interest in the most recent presidential election and the fact subsequent political and social discussions often intersected with the sports world, we found it to be an appropriate time to review our guidelines," ESPN’s vice president of global digital content Patrick Stiegman said. "...we wanted the policy to reflect the reality of the world today. There are people talking about politics in ways we have not seen before, and we’re not immune from that."

ESPN declined to comment and a rep for Steele did not return Fox News' request for comment.

However, a source told Fox News, Steele is still "very much employed" by ESPN and is leading the network's "SportsCenter on the Road" initiative. The source told us Steele's new role was announced months ago and she is still a "big part" of the company.

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