Sage Steele’s comments about Barack Obama cause backlash

ESPN on-air personality Sage Steele created a controversy with recent comments about former President Barack Obama during a recent appearance on the “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast.

Steele discussed racial identity, and expressed an issue with having to check “Black” on the last census, because she self-identifies as biracial.

“If they make you choose a race, what are you gonna put? Well, both,” said Steele, who’s African-American and Irish/Italian. “Barack Obama chose Black and he’s biracial… congratulations to the President, that’s his thing. I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad is nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him, but okay. You do you. I’m gonna do me.”

Steele added, “Listen, I’m pretty sure my white mom was there when I was born. And my white family loves me as much as my Black family.”

Following Steele’s comments, former ESPN employee Jemele Hill said she was behaving like a “clown.”

“So on top of thinking former President Obama shouldn’t identify as Black because he didn’t have a relationship with his black father, Sage Steele also thinks female journalists who dress a certain way ‘know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on,’” Hill tweeted, adding, “Clown behavior.”

Hill was also referencing Steele’s comments about mentoring young female journalists.

“I do think as women, we need to be responsible as well. It isn’t just on players and athletes and coaches to act a certain way. I’ve had talks with young women, who would come in an inter… or just other women who reach out to me now. I’ve said to a couple of them, they’re like, ‘Will you look at my tape?’” Steele said about journalists who ask her to view their broadcast reels.

“I’ve said, ‘Listen, I would love to but the way that you present yourself is not something I want to be associated with.’ So, when you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you put that outfit on too,” Steele continued.

Barack Obama
AFP via Getty Images

Former ESPN on-air personality, Cari Champion tweeted, “Le Sigh. My Dad wasn’t around when I was younger. I’m still Black.”

ESPN personality Sarah Spain also tweeted about women journalists and work attire after Steele’s comments.

“Just a reminder to women journalists — and women everywhere — that what you wear should have no effect on whether or not you’re safe at work,” Spain wrote. “Your clothes aren’t harassing you, human beings are. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re at fault for your own victimization.”

Elsewhere in the podcast interview, Steele complained about her employer, the Walt Disney Company’s vaccine mandate — calling it “sick” and scary.”


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