Jemele Hill leaving ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ for The Undefeated

Jemele Hill attends the 49th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on January 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAACP )
Caption
Jemele Hill attends the 49th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on January 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAACP )

Credit: Jesse Grant

Credit: Jesse Grant

Controversial ESPN co-anchor Jemele Hill is leaving her post as co-anchor on the 6 p.m. "SportsCenter."

ESPN said in a Friday news release that Hill's final "SportsCenter" broadcast will be Friday, Feb. 2, two days before the Super Bowl. Hill's co-host, Michael Smith, is expected to continue hosting the show.

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Hill will remain at ESPN writing for The Undefeated, the network's vertical dedicated to race, culture and sport, Sports Illustrated reported.

ExploreRelated: ESPN suspends host Jemele Hill for 2 weeks

ESPN suspended Hill in October over her NFL tweets, in which she said that football fans upset with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones's response to NFL players' national anthem protests should boycott advertisers.

“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” she tweeted. “If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”

The statement was interpreted by many to mean Hill was calling for boycotts of the NFL itself, which she denied.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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ESPN Issues Apology For Jemele Hill's Twitter Rant

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

ESPN issued a statement that Hill had been suspended for two weeks.

In September, ESPN and Hill had drawn public criticism after she tweeted her opinion that she considered President Donald Trump a "white supremacist." When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Hill's remarks, she called it a "a fireable offense."

ExploreRelated: ESPN suspends host Jemele Hill for 2 weeks

Trump chimed in on Twitter.

“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!” he said at the time.

According to ESPN's news release, Hill initiated discussions with the company about a new role. Deadline reported that Hill has a multiyear deal with the network.

Hill issued a statement on the news through the ESPN news release Friday afternoon, saying her passion lies in writing, reporting and commentary. Hill began her career at ESPN as a columnist in 2007.

“While I have grown in every way imaginable this last year on the 6 p.m. SportsCenter, deep down I knew it wasn’t my calling. I approached (ESPN Executive Vice President, Content) Connor Schell recently and asked if they would consider re-thinking my role. And as has been the case throughout my 11 years at this company, ESPN graciously worked with me to determine the best way for me to continue to do meaningful work.

“My first choice was to work with The Undefeated, a site that covers the intersection of race, African-American culture and sports in creative and compelling ways,” she said. “I admire, trust and have unconditional respect for (ESPN Senior Vice President & Editor-in-Chief) Kevin Merida and The Undefeated staff. I have no doubt we will create amazing content together. I’m also thankful to Connor for not only hearing my request, but being immensely supportive throughout this process. I have longed for some time to return to my roots, so to speak. I’m ecstatic to be in such a supportive environment to explore the next phase in my career.

"I'd also like to thank my co-host Michael Smith for his encouragement, generosity and support," she said. "I will be cheering him on as the 6 p.m. SportsCenter evolves with him as lead anchor. The SC6 staff also has my utmost gratitude and affection. Thank you for your hard work and contributions."

ExploreRelated: Jemele Hill announces her return to ESPN after suspension

"Jemele and I created something special, and I will always be proud of her and our work together," Smith said in a statement. "She will continue to do amazing things here at ESPN. I am honored to be part of the next iteration of American sports television's signature brand — 'SportsCenter.'"

Hill followed up her statement on Twitter, saying that she was not demoted or fired from "SportsCenter." Hill said she will be contributing to ESPN shows and working on other projects that will be announced later.

“Let’s just say it will make the next phase of my career that much more interesting,” she wrote.