College Sports

ESPN suspends Jemele Hill for violating social media policy. Donald Trump responds.

President Donald Trump tweeted about Jemele Hill and ESPN on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump tweeted about Jemele Hill and ESPN on Tuesday. AP

President Donald Trump responded to ESPN’s decision to suspend SportsCenter host Jemele Hill in a tweet Tuesday morning.

“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”

ESPN announced on Monday it had suspended Hill for two weeks after she violated the company’s social media policy for a second time.

Hill had posted tweets on Sunday suggesting that people boycott Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after team owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench any player who disrespected the flag. Trump tweeted his support of Jones.

NFL players have been protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling, locking arms or sitting during the national anthem before games. Trump has been a harsh critic of those protests. During a campaign rally last month, he called the players “sons of bitches,” and suggested owners fire any players who knelt during the game.

The NFL’s owners initially showed solidarity with the players, but at least two owners, including Jones, have changed their stance.

Trump tweeted Sunday that he suggested Vice President Mike Pence walk out of the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers game if any player knelt.

When they did, Pence left.

In September, Hill, who was a sports writer at The News & Observer from 1997-99, posted a tweet that called Trump a “white supremacist.” ESPN distanced itself from the tweet at the time.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Hill’s tweet about Trump by calling it “a fireable offense.”

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander