ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for encouraging a boycott of NFL advertisers in reaction to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s crackdown on take-a-knee protests.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” said ESPN in a Monday statement. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet.”
Ms. Hill tweeted Sunday that, “If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers,” and retweeted a list of companies that advertise with 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
Mr. Jones told reporters Sunday that the NFL cannot “give the implication that we tolerate disrespect to the flag. We cannot do that.”
His comments came after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game, reacting to a protest in which 23 players on the visiting San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.
“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.”
Mr. Jones, coaches and players took a knee and locked arms before the national anthem at the Sept. 25 game, then stood for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” after President Trump said owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who refuses to stand for the flag.
Mr. Jones’s clampdown on kneeling during the national anthem drew a wave of criticism from take-a-knee supporters on Twitter, which prompted Ms. Hill’s suggestion to target advertisers.
“If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers,” she said. “Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”
Sportswriter Clay Travis pointed out that sports networks like ESPN depend on the success of professional sports leagues like the NFL.
“ESPN’s entire future as a business is tied to NFL. Without NFL company dies. And they have employees calling for advertiser boycotts. Amazing,” Mr. Travis said on Twitter.
ESPN’s entire future as business is tied to NFL. Without NFL company dies. And they have employees calling for advertiser boycotts. Amazing. — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 9, 2017
Last month, Ms. Hill described the president as a “white supremacist” and “bigot” on Twitter, which earned her a mild rebuke from ESPN.
“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN,” the network said in a statement. “We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
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