ESPN anchor Sage Steele has been removed from the air for at least a few days after an appearance on former NFL quarterbackJay Cutler's podcast in which she criticized the cable sports network's vaccine mandate and questioned former President Barack Obama identifying as Black. During the podcast, the SportsCenter co-host revealed she's vaccinated against Covid-19, but didn't want to be, saying she got the vaccine because of ESPN's mandate. She said, "I didn’t want to do it. But I work for a company that mandates it, and I have until September 30 to get it done, or I’m out." She also called the vaccine mandate "sick" and "scary," and said she'd felt "emotional" and "defeated" when she had to get it. Additionally, Steele, who like Obama is biracial, commented on the former president choosing "Black" as his ethnicity for the Census, saying, "I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him[.]" Steele released an apology, saying, "I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize. We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully."
Here is a shortened version of her comments, followed by the complete podcast appearance: