Jemele Hill left “SportsCenter” on Feb. 2, but the show had left her and her partner months earlier.
According to The NYPost, Michael Smith, the “SC6” co-anchor, took a stab at his employer, accusing ESPN of “muting” the show’s personalities by retooling the program in the wake of Hill’s suspension and public fight with President Trump.
What began as an offshoot for “His and Hers,” which was built on Hill’s and Smith’s repartee, was moved back into more standard “SportsCenter” fare after ESPN changed the show’s boss.
“I’m like, so wait a second, you all acknowledge that one of the strengths that we have going for us as a show is Michael and Jemele’s chemistry, but Michael and Jemele don’t f–king talk to each other? How does that make sense?”
Hill was embroiled in the “white supremacist” spat with Trump in mid-September, then suspended in early October for a tweet that involved fans boycotting the Cowboys. The first weeks of Hill’s suspension were the first weeks of ESPN executive Norby Williamson taking over “SC6,” Smith said, and he accused the network of strangling the life out of it.
“We knew we were gonna get s–t out of the gate. … But we weren’t built to take it,” said Smith, now on his own after Hill left for The Undefeated. “Immediately we started pushing the panic button. Instead of saying no, this is the vision for this show, this is what we’re doing. This show is about Michael and Jemele and their opinions and their chemistry, and they’re going to do ‘SportsCenter’ their way. Instead of sticking to that vision, we immediately tried to merge two things.