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ESPN reporter apologizes for claiming Barack Obama’s “Black dad was nowhere to be found”

Sage Steele also made some controversial statements about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sage Steele Getty

“SportsCenter” reporter Sage Steele has issued an apology after she made some controversial statements about Barack Obama and the COVID-19 vaccine. During a recent appearance on Jay Cutler’s podcast, the anchor questioned the former president’s Blackness and shared her thoughts about his decision to identify as African American on the United States census.

“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing,’” she said. “I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”

When revealing that she got vaccinated after Disney’s COVID-19 mandate, Steele said that “is it sick and it’s scary” to see the corporate world require their employees to take the shot.

“I respect everyone’s decision. I really do,” she told Cutler. “But to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways. But I have a job, a job that I love and frankly, a job that I need.”

The reporter also expressed her belief that some young women journalists in the male-dominated sports industry dress in a way that lead to them being sexually harassed. “When you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on, too,” she said.

The comments from Steele immediately drew criticism, prompting ESPN to release a statement on the matter.

“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view,” the statement read. “That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies. We are having direct conversations with Sage and those conversations will remain private.”

Steele has since apologized for her controversial thoughts. “I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize,” the “SportsCenter” anchor said Tuesday (Oct. 5). ”We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it’s more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”

See a clip from Steele’s conversation with Cutler below.

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