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One of ESPN’s longtime anchors is taking the company and its parent, The Walt Disney Co., to court over free speech and breach of contract.
Last September, Sage Steele expressed frustration with his employer’s offer of the COVID-19 vaccine and briefly mentioned his former President Barack Obama as he discussed his nationality as a foreigner. Uncircumcised by Jay Cutler podcast. After that, he was pulled from the sky.
Steele’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said the game’s reporter had been fired for speaking out about his beliefs outside the workplace even though he adhered to ESPN’s policy.
“Steele has been punished for speaking out against violations of free speech in accordance with Connecticut law and US law,” Freedman said. “ESPN violated his right to speak, retaliate, criticize, insult him, allow journalists and colleagues to please him and force him to apologize because his views did not agree with Disney Company’s philosophy at the time. let them be shut up.
According to court documents, Steele’s legal team claimed that ESPN had not explained his position to him. He further added that ESPN had repeatedly worked to criticize Steele for his comments while ignoring political rhetoric and arguments against other employees.
At the time Steele appeared on former NFL podcast Jay Cutler, which aired on Sept. 29, 2021, Cutler asked why he had Band-Aid on his arm. He further added that he had just received his COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with Disney’s directives, although he felt that the company’s demands were not met.
“I respect everyone’s decision. I do. But ordering me to get sick, and it scares me in many ways,” Steele told the podcast. “But I have a job, a job I love and, frankly, a job I need.”
At the head of the contest, Steele explained that he was proud to be from a black and white family, the court said. As the conversation progressed, Steele recalled his appearance in 2014 Views, when asked why he did not simply identify himself as Black, as Obama did. He also said he was happy that the former President was only known to be black despite being raised by his white mother and grandparents.
Steele tested positive for COVID-19 just days after the podcast was released and was suspended from air on Oct. 4, the court ruled, and was ordered to apologize publicly.
Responding to Steele’s lawsuit, ESPN stated: “Sage is still very supportive of some of ESPN’s high-end products, including the recent Masters televisions and the launch of our SportsCenter afternoon. In fact, he has never been suspended.”
But Steele’s lawyers are arguing differently.
Steele was removed from the air from Oct. 4 to Oct. 14, at a time when, according to the reservation, several media outlets also claimed that Steele had not been given the comments he made on the Cutler podcast.
In court, Steele’s lawyers said, “ESPN did nothing to disprove the allegations that it suspended or punished Steele for his comments, because the reports were true and because ESPN had to benefit from public opinion to punish him. Steele for his comments.”
Steele’s group is seeking compensation for ESPN’s alleged violation of its First Amendment rights and the Connecticut law, which prohibits employers from punishing any employee for speaking freely. His lawyers also criticized ESPN’s intention to break Steele’s contract and help break the anchor.