June 15, 2024


“Having efficiently settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I’ve determined to depart so I can train my first modification rights extra freely.”

Sage Steele speaks on the fifteenth annual Excessive College Athlete of the 12 months Awards in Marina del Rey, California, July 11, 2017. Chris Pizzello / AP, File

ESPN and host Sage Steele have settled a lawsuit she filed after being disciplined for feedback she made in regards to the firm’s coverage requiring staff to get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

Steele posted on social media Tuesday that she is leaving the Bristol, Connecticut-based firm, the place she has labored since 2007.

“Having efficiently settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I’ve determined to depart so I can train my first modification rights extra freely,” she wrote. “I’m grateful for thus many fantastic experiences over the previous 16 years and am excited for my subsequent chapter!”

Steele was taken off the air for 10 days in October 2021 and pulled from a number of high-profile assignments, together with together with protection of the New York Metropolis Marathon, the Rose Parade, and the annual ESPNW Summit, as a result of she criticized ESPN and The Walt Disney Co.’s requirement that staff be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, in keeping with her lawsuit, which was filed in Might 2022 in Connecticut Superior Court docket.

She additionally was required to make a public apology, the lawsuit mentioned.

Steele’s feedback important of ESPN got here whereas she was talking on a podcast hosted by former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and simply after getting the vaccine herself to adjust to the coverage, in keeping with her lawsuit.

She mentioned that whereas she revered everybody’s choice to get vaccinated, she believed {that a} company mandate was “sick” and “scary to me in some ways.” She additionally indicated that she didn’t need to get vaccinated however did so to maintain her job and help her household, in keeping with the lawsuit.

Steele additionally mentioned on the podcast that she identifies as biracial and questioned former President Barack Obama’s choice to determine himself as Black on the latest U.S. Census. She additionally mentioned that feminine journalists “must be accountable as properly” if inappropriate feedback are directed at them based mostly on how they’re dressed.

ESPN “compelled Steele to apologize, allowed media to destroy her, and let media experiences that she had been suspended go unchallenged, and allowed Steele’s colleagues to defame her in violation of firm coverage with out a lot as a reprimand,” her attorneys wrote within the lawsuit.

In June, ESPN provided to settle the lawsuit for simply over $500,000 plus attorneys charges and prices.

The phrases of the settlement disclosed Tuesday weren’t instantly made public, and Steele’s attorneys didn’t instantly return emails searching for remark.

ESPN issued an announcement confirming solely Steele’s departure from the community.

“ESPN and Sage Steele have mutually agreed to half methods,” spokesman Josh Krulewitz wrote. “We thank her for her many contributions over time.”