During a divisive period in the United States in recent years, sports fans have seen some of their favorite players talk politics they may not have agreed with.
There was the Colin Kaepernick controversy, the Black Lives Matter movement and the vaccination debate of 2020.
Former ESPN host Jemele Hill is calling out fans who want players to “stick to sports.”
Hill, who came under fire for calling former President Trump a “white supremacist” during her time at ESPN, discussed what she says are “different rules for different people” on the “Awful Announcing” podcast.
“The whole disingenuousness of sticking to sports is it’s never about the topic,” Hill said on the podcast. “It’s always about how people feel about the topic, right? There is a huge sector of people that are anti-vax, as was exposed when we were really in the height and thick of the pandemic.
“We’re in the middle of a culture war in America, in general, grievance culture, especially — White conservative grievance culture, even more specifically. And, so, there are certain opinions that’s not going to create the level of outrage that it did maybe five or six years ago.”
Media personality Pat McAfee recently found himself in hot water after Aaron Rodgers insinuated on McAfee’s show that Jimmy Kimmel would be on Jeffrey Epstein’s client list.
It wasn’t the first time Rodgers turned heads with an agenda or a conspiracy theory. Hill said McAfee has a decision to make.
“‘Am I serving the audience that got me here by veering off or allowing my guest to veer off to these topics that they probably don’t necessarily want to hear,’” Hill said of what McAfee should be pondering.
“But, then, the other argument could be made because he’s fitting firmly into the anti-mainstream media, mainstream sports media bubble.
“There’s a lot of people who are fans of his who kind of love the fact that he’s, while on their network, challenging the same network. They kind of like that. And that feeds the perception that his show is not for your traditional sports fans. It’s for people who think a little more outside the box and who like the rebellious nature of the show.
“There’s an argument to be made that maybe he is serving them. But I would like to think the majority of people who tune in to see Aaron Rodgers or Pat McAfee want to probably hear about sports.”
Hill said Rodgers’ appearances on the show have “turned [ESPN] into OANN (One American News Network).”
“It’s like you’re watching Newsmax,” she said on CNN this week.
McAfee admitted this week the scrutiny was “real loud,” and he was “happy” Rodgers’ appearances were over.
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