ESPN’s initial approach to handling SportsCenter host Jemele Hill’s remarks on Donald Trump was supposed to placate both sides, and ended up placating neither. Then the White House called describing the president accurately a “fireable offense.” The network tried a second take Wednesday night, which isn’t much better.
Hill released a brief statement in which she didn’t apologize to Donald Trump for calling him a “white supremacist”—good—and regretted dragging ESPN into this situation, even though the company did that itself.
ESPN released its own statement, accepting Hill’s “apology”:
Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.
In theory, ESPN can now move on while Hill gets berated and harassed online by possibly fake 50-year-old Trump voters named Tammy—a clear win for nervous higher-ups at the Worldwide Leader. In practice, opportunists who are impossible to actually appease will, having extracted two groveling apologies from the network, go out in search of another.