In an impromptu airport interview with TMZ Sports, Jemele Hill said that she “deserved a suspension” after putting ESPN “in a bad spot” with her social media behavior, and respects ESPN’s prerogative to do “what they felt was right” in hitting her with a two-week suspension for a series of Donald Trump-related tweets:
“Me and ESPN are fine. I know it’s great conjecture to think about [whether she would leave ESPN over the suspension], but, like, we’re fine. We’re in a good place and I’m happy to be back at the network.
I want people to understand this: There was never any restrictions placed on me, about Twitter. So, I’ll be back on Twitter, and I’ll be my usual self.”
[Question about whether she was treated fairly by ESPN]
“So, here’s how this works: It doesn’t really matter what I think. It matters to people, but here’s the reality: ESPN acted what they felt was right, and, you know, I don’t have any argument or quibble with that. I would tell people, absolutely, after my Donald Trump tweets, I deserved that suspension. I deserved it. Like, absolutely. I violated the policy; I deserved that suspension.
The only thing I’ll ever apologize for is, I put ESPN in a bad spot. I’ll never take back what I said. I put them in a bad spot, that’s the truth of it. I regret the position I put them in. I regret, a lot of the people I work with, the position we put our show in. I’ll never take back what I said.”
How she can have violated a policy and subsequently deserved a suspension despite no restrictions having been put on her social media behavior isn’t entirely clear, but the quickest way forward from this was always going to involve Hill striking a conciliatory tone. Hill also confirmed that she will return to the network starting Monday.