The line between politics and sports is often a blurry one. In fact, there isn’t really a line to begin with. From the days of Joe Louis knocking out Max Schmeling with backdrop of World War II to the Miracle On Ice, politics has always seemed to find its way into sports. However, some like to keep the two separate.
Most recently, former ESPN personality, Jemele Hill, found herself in a bit of turmoil at the worldwide leader in sports when she had a Twitter back and forth with the U.S. President. Ultimately, Hill’s online feud with Trump led to her cutting ties with the network. Since then, it appears that the sports network has tried to step away from the intersection of sports and politics.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro discussed the network’s relationship with political discourse on air. Pitaro said, “Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics.” He added, “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused.”
In short, don’t look for ESPN to be discussing anything related to politics in the future. However, it may become difficult for the network to avoid such discussions with the upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.