Sharpton has threatened a boycott of the network after Hill was suspended for two weeks for what ESPN termed a “second violation” of its social media guidelines because she urged her followers to boycott Jerry Jones’ sponsors after his decision to make all players stand for the national anthem.
Sharpton argued that Hill was not calling for a direct boycott of Cowboys advertisers but rather suggesting that her followers “let advertisers know how they feel.”
“We consider it outrageous that Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN. She has the right to tell people that they ought to let advertisers know how they feel, since they are the consumers,” Sharpton said in the statement from his National Action Network (NAN). “While she didn’t call for a direct boycott, it’s not off the table for us in the civil rights community.”
Sharpton also tweeted this message:
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ESPN’s suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered. ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) October 9, 2017
Hill clarified her position Monday, tweeting this:
Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Hill came close to losing her coveted anchor spot two weeks ago when she called Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement about Hill’s suspension. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”
ESPN declined to comment when asked by Sporting News about Sharpton’s statement.