ESPN Sidelines Sage Steele After Comments on Network's Vaccine Mandate, Barack Obama

The sportscaster questioned why the former president identifies as African American when his "Black dad is nowhere to be found."

Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for CoachArt

ESPN sidelined reporter Sage Steele on Tuesday after the sportscaster questioned former President Barack Obama's racial identity and blasted her company's COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Steele made the comments in a Sept. 29 episode of the "Uncut with Jay Cutler" podcast with the former Chicago Bears quarterback.

“'Barack Obama chose Black and he’s biracial' and I'm like, well, congratulations to the president, that’s his thing," Steele said. "I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found but his white mom and grandma raised him. But hey, you do you, I’m gonna do me."

In that same podcast, Steele, who said she has been vaccinated, referred to her own company's vaccine mandate as "sick."

It wasn't immediately clear how long Steele would be off the air, and the company did not say which of Steele's comments had resulted in the decision.

"At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great," the company said in a statement. "That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies."

Steele apologized in a statement released Tuesday.

"I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize," the sportscaster said. "We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it's more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully."

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