On the same day that Jemele Hill was suspended from ESPN for tweeting about politics, another network personality, Michael Wilbon, compared Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to a slave owner.
Mr. Wilbon, co-host of “Pardon the Interruption,” took issue with Mr. Jones’ stance that players who do not stand for the national anthem before football games will not play.
“And the word that comes to my mind―and I don’t care who doesn’t like me using it―is plantation,” Mr. Wilbon said on Monday’s show. “The players are here to serve me, and they will do what I want. No matter how much I pay them, they are not equal to me. That’s what this says to me and mine.”
ESPN declined to comment on Mr. Wilbon’s remarks.
The take-a-knee protests roiling the NFL escalated once again on Sunday, when Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game, after 23 members of 49ers did not stand for the anthem.
Later that day, after his team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, Mr. Jones told reporters that players who refuse to stand for the anthem will be benched.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Mr. Jones said. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
President Trump tweeted in support of Mr. Jones on Monday night.
A big salute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who will BENCH players who disrespect our Flag.”Stand for Anthem or sit for game!” — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, the president also suggested punitive measures should be taken against the NFL through a change in the tax law.
Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
ESPN suspended Ms. Hill, co-host of “SC6,” on Monday for her second violation of the network’s social media policy.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet.”
The network previously censured her for calling Mr. Trump a “white supremacist.” ESPN did not specify which of Ms. Hill’s tweets ran afoul of its policy.
On Sunday night, Ms. Hill suggested in a series of tweets that fans and advertisers boycott the Dallas Cowboys.
This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers. https://t.co/LFXJ9YQe74 — Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
She later clarified that she was not calling for a boycott.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said ESPN’s ratings have “tanked” in part because of Ms. Hill.
With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
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