ESPN’s Michael Smith will host ‘SportsCenter’ solo during Jemele Hill suspension
By Des Bieler October 10 at 8:23 PM
Michael Smith has hosted “#SC6″ with #JemeleHill since February.
In the wake of Jemele Hill’s two-week suspension Monday by #ESPN for what the network called violations of its social media policy, #MichaelSmith declined to #anchor the 6 p.m. edition of “#SportsCenter” that day without his usual co-host. Another anchor, Matt Barrie, filled in, but Smith was back on set Tuesday without a partner — an arrangement that will last until Hill returns. [ Trump blasts ESPN’s Jemele Hill after her suspension for tweet about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones]
As confirmed to The Washington Post by an ESPN spokesman, Smith is expected to host “SC6″ by himself for the rest of the next two weeks. Hill was suspended after posting tweets suggesting that fans could boycott advertisers who work with the Dallas Cowboys, following team owner Jerry Jones’s announcement that any of his players who failed to stand for the national anthem would get benched.
ESPN cited those tweets as “a second violation” of its #socialmediaguidelines, coming about a month after Hill called President Trump “a #whitesupremacist.” She was sharply criticized for that comment by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who called it “a fireable offense,” and ESPN reportedly tried to take her off the air that day before Smith refused to do the show and other network anchors declined to fill in. ESPN denied that version of events.
Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “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!” The network has reportedly been hit with losses from cord-cutting, as has the cable-TV industry in general, but according to Nielsen figures, it still leads all full-time cable networks among key demographics, including males 18-49.
A noticeably more somber Smith took to the airwaves. Tuesday, opening with
these lines: “Those who know know. Those who don't, it need not be explained. I'm here. You're here. Let's do Sports." #aprofessional #notpleased #str8nochaser