When ESPN announced Michelle Beadle would be the new full-time host of NBA Countdown on Tuesday there didn’t seem to be any mention of its current host, broadcaster Sage Steele, which left many to deduce the shakeup bumped her from NBA coverage.
In actuality, the network told EBONY.com in an e-mail that Steele will be focusing on other high-profile jobs, including leading the “SportsCenter on The Road” initiative and will still play a role in NBA Playoff and Finals coverage, as well as The Masters and the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
So no, Steele hasn’t been fired, but because of some of the comments she’s made in the past that have raised eyebrows around Black Twitter, folks aren’t exactly upset she lost her spot. In January, the broadcaster fell under heavy criticism when she complained on Instagram about being inconvenienced during protests against the Trump administration’s initial travel ban.
Steele also experienced backlash when she criticized the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans when he sat during the national anthem before a November game against the Chicago bears in protest of Trump’s election. She even caught shade from Miko Grimes, wife of Evans’ teammate Brent Grimes over it. That led to a lengthy Facebook post from her on “diversity” with an “All Lives Matter” theme.
Normally, there would be some push back when an African-American woman in such a visible role loses her position to a White person, but Black Twitter seemed to actually be giddy about this one.
Lmfaooooo Sage Steele got the boot from NBA Countdown? Long overdue pic.twitter.com/dcubEXCUyY
— Atypical (@Supeprime) April 4, 2017
Oh Sage Steele got replaced? Whoops pic.twitter.com/GrXMiRG3WU
— Reez (@FareezyCheesy) April 4, 2017
Yeah, this wasn’t a good look, Sage Steele. pic.twitter.com/JflMZaXSwI
— Marty. (@Atwitisborn) April 4, 2017
Sage Steele was just clowning on Kaepernick for being unemployed….life comes at you fast pic.twitter.com/kGI7zFxHSv
— trash staples (@3230PoppyStreet) April 4, 2017
No word from ESPN on exactly why Steele was replaced other than to explain that she has a new focus at the network.
The NBA playoffs begin April 15 with coverage on both ABC and ESPN.