ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill expressed some opinions about Donald Trump in Twitter on Monday in the middle of a heated and very political exchange. They weren’t outrageous statements, by any means, but coming from an ESPN employee, they were surprising. Here are the most noteworthy:
In a move that Deadspin called “craven,” ESPN released a statement saying that Hill's tweets were “inappropriate,” and that they had addressed the issue with her.
There was no mention of suspension, much less firing, and it seemed as though the story was over.
Then White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took the podium today, and this happened:
Here's that quote for those without video:
“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anybody could make and certainly is something that is a fireable offense by ESPN.”
That's right—a White House employee is calling for a private employee to be fired because she said—I repeat, said—something unkind about the president.
As far as we can tell, this is unprecedented, and political Twitter—from left to right—is reacting with shock:
As Parker Molloy noted, it will be interesting to see whether the free speech advocates who are so vocal about violations on college campuses are equally up in arms about this.