Sage Steele: Unyielding Spirit

Overview of Sage Steele's journey with ESPN, highlighting her resilience amidst media challenges.

August 16, 2023

Not every woman earns the title of 'queen,' a term reserved for those who radiate exceptional courage and distinction. Among a sea of voices, some women may ignorantly support the diminishing of their gender through the neo rainbow coalition. Yet, a few rare gems rise, steadfastly championing their beliefs against prevailing intolerance. Sage Steele shines as one such exemplary figure.

The American landscape experienced a seismic shift following Trump's rise to the presidency. ESPN, a channel once esteemed for its engaging and informative sports content, underwent a "woke" transformation after 2016. Trump's escalator descent symbolized the ascent of populism, a sentiment many corporations, including Disney disdain.

In this era, Sage Steele emerged as a beacon of independent thought. She didn't necessarily align with any particular group or ideology. Instead, she remained steadfast in her beliefs, refusing to be swayed by the changing tides or the pressure to conform to a narrative that might secure her position in a corporation that appears to resist populist sentiments.

In a world where media personalities often walk on eggshells, Sage Steele stood out. Her comments on a podcast didn't just make waves; they created a tsunami within the ESPN community. Steele, an independent thinker, voiced her opinions without hesitation. However, these remarks led to her removal from the airwaves, a decision that many saw as a reaction to the changing dynamics of the media landscape post-2016.

In a society that often grapples with questions of identity, Steele's experience with her black colleagues at ESPN brought a complex issue to the forefront. Allegedly, some did not consider her "black enough," leading to her exclusion from certain network events and discussions. This situation underscores that the concept of a "black" identity isn't merely about skin color. It’s about adherence to a particular narrative. 

Those who allegedly froze Steele out have never truly left the metaphorical "plantation." True emancipation would mean respecting Steele's opinions, even in disagreement, just as she has shown respect for theirs. True unity and understanding goes beyond superficial labels and requires deeper introspection and mutual respect.

The aftermath of her podcast comments was just the beginning. Steele took legal action, filing a lawsuit against ESPN. She alleged that the network retaliated against her, not just for her comments but for her refusal to conform to a narrative. The lawsuit highlighted issues of free speech and the challenges faced by those who dare to be different in an industry that often values conformity. Steele's decision to stand up for her rights showcased her determination and resilience.

The culmination of Steele's journey with ESPN was her decision to part ways with the network. It wasn't a quiet exit. Steele's departure was marked by mutual statements, with both her and ESPN acknowledging the end of their long-standing relationship. Through all the challenges, Steele navigated her path with grace, embodying the essence of a true queen. Her journey serves as a reminder that standing by one's convictions, even in the face of adversity, is a testament to true character.

It's essential to give credit where it's due. Steele is not the only voice speaking out, but she's one of the few in the limelight who dared to be different. In a world where many parrot the same corporate lines, fearing backlash or job security, Steele's voice was refreshingly genuine. Her courage to stand against the tide, especially in a post-Trump era, is commendable.

While the media landscape continues to evolve, one can only hope that more individuals like Steele will emerge, championing genuine dialogue and independent thought. As society looks to the future, may it find the courage to stand by its convictions, just as Sage Steele, a queen of independent thought, did.


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