Before ESPN accepted Jemele Hill’s “apology” on Wednesday night, the network reportedly tried — and failed — to replace her.
Three hours after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Hill’s tweets calling President Trump a “white supremacist” were a “fireable offense,” ESPN attempted to replace her on the 6 p.m. broadcast of SportsCenter with a different African-American co-host, according to a report from ThinkProgress.org.
Hill’s co-host Michael Smith “refused” to go on the air without Hill and two other black hosts at ESPN, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, declined to replace her when asked by the network.
With no one to take Hill’s place, and Smith threatening to not go on camera, ESPN opted to let them both co-host the show as usual.
ESPN denied the ThinkProgress report, saying “we never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period.”
In hindsight, a tweet Eaves sent out at 4:30 Wednesday is telling.
Hill has still not mentioned anything about the controversy while on-air, but she has tweeted about it.
“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” she wrote late Wednesday. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light.
“My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
Hill initially tweeted that Trump “is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists” on Monday.
She went on to say he is “an unfit, bigoted, incompetent moron” and is “unqualified and unfit to be president.”
Hill has not deleted those tweets.