Sage Steele, a former ESPN anchor, has publicly voiced her grievances against the company, claiming unfair treatment, while Stephen A. Smith, a long-standing figure at the network, has taken a contrasting stance.

Steele’s reason for departure

Image of Steele from Wikipedia.

Steele recently revealed her departure from ESPN, attributing it to the resolution of a lawsuit she filed against the company, alleging violations of her freedom of expression. After stepping down, she featured on “The Megyn Kelly Show,” where she discussed what she described as a hostile work environment during her tenure at her former workplace.

Steele said, “If we are allowing my peers to go on social media, much less on our own airwaves, saying things … then I should be allowed on my personal time to give my opinion on my experiences personally, without telling others what to do,” and further added “There were different rules for me than everyone else,” an article from USA Today reported.

Steele gained notoriety during a 2021 interview on the podcast “Uncut with Jay Cutler” for her divisive remarks regarding President Obama’s racial identity as well as her criticism of ESPN’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and women’s fashion choices.

She was placed on paid leave as a result of these comments, and she then sued ESPN and Disney for claiming First Amendment breaches. Since joining the team in 2007, Steele has just announced her departure from ESPN.

In terms of corporate dynamics, the company’s future actions and response are motivated by a natural need to take stockholders’ and shareholders’ opinions into account. This obligation is one that Smith is aware of. His opinion is that it is a mistake for businesses to tend to stifle people. From Smith’s standpoint, it is clear how important it is to strike a balance between upholding shareholder sensibilities and allowing for free speech.

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