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Sage Steele leaves ESPN after settling the case


ESPN and presenter Sage Steele have settled a lawsuit after receiving disciplinary action for comments she made about the company’s policy requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Steele reported on social media on Tuesday that he was leaving the Bristol, Connecticut-based company he had worked for since 2007.

“After successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely.” Wrote. “I’m grateful for the many great experiences over the past 16 years and excited for my next episode!”

Steele was taken off the air for 10 days in October 2021 and withdrew from several high-profile duties, including the New York City Marathon, the Rose Parade, and the annual ESPNW Summit, for criticizing ESPN and The Walt Disney Co. According to the lawsuit filed by . in the Connecticut Supreme Court in May 2022, its employees were required to vaccinate against COVID-19.

The lawsuit also said she needed to issue a public apology.

Steele’s comments critical of ESPN came just after speaking on a podcast hosted by former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and, according to his case, getting the vaccine himself to comply with policy.

She said she respected everyone’s decision to get vaccinated, but believed that an institutional imperative was “sick” and “in many ways frightening to me.” He also stated that according to the case, he did not want to be vaccinated but did so to continue his job and support his family.

Steele also said on the podcast that he self-identified as biracial, questioning former President Barack Obama’s decision to identify himself as Black in the last U.S. Census. She also said that female journalists “should be held accountable” if inappropriate comments were directed at them based on their dressing style.

“ESPN forced Steele to apologize, allowed the media to derail him, and allowed media reports of his suspension to remain uncontroversial, and allowed Steele’s colleagues to defame him up to reprimand for violating company policy,” his lawyers wrote. case.

In June, ESPN offered to settle the case for just over $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees and expenses.

The terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not immediately made public, and Steele’s lawyers did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

ESPN just released a statement confirming that Steele has left the network.

“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to part ways,” spokesman Josh Krulewitz wrote. “We thank him for the many contributions he has made over the years.”


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