“Know that you represent them inside and out.”
The above photo is of sports journalist Jemele Hill of ESPN. She recently came under fire for her comments aimed toward President Donald J. Trump. She stated via her Twitter account that she felt President Trump was not only a voice for White Supremacy, but a member of their organizations. It sparked criticism enough to catch the attention of the United States Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who stated that Jemele’s comments were “fireable.” Even the president himself felt that she should be relieved of her duties for making such comments about him. And it must have struck a nerve with someone because ESPN issued a statement regarding Hill’s comments directed at the president. So they must have really taken issue to the comments that Jemele made to put out a statement. Or was there another reason they decided to issue a statement regarding her (Hill’s) comments.
ESPN is a multinational cable television provider of worldwide sports. And as a company owned by Walt Disney, they are aimed at trying to maintain a certain level of decor on their television programming. Now, Hill has her freedom of speech, but ESPN has the ability to take a stance as well. Meaning that if they truly wanted to, they could fire her. Not on grounds of what she said because that violates her freedom of speech. But if they feel what she said could cost them in monetary damages then they are in their full right to let her go. Now, those in Jemele’s corner might say she spoke the truth, but here is what you don’t realize. You represent the brand that is ESPN; and while under that brand you have to abide by their rules and regulations. Meaning, if politics are to not allowed then you don’t discuss politics. But if they are allowed , the speech has to be in alliance with company regulatory measures.
It sounds unfair, and it is, but that is what happens when you work for a company. You see, prior, Jemele and her colleague Michael Smith ran a podcast show that became popular. And that popularity opened doors for them in much more lucrative and diverse business environments.But with that bump in exposure comes the rules when playing the game at that level. And what you can say and do on a podcast is not the same as when you are representing a brand like Walt Disney. Yet many still feel she should be able to express herself because it is her rights. And once again, here is where you are put into this weird trick basket which is why people don’t voice their opinions. You can freely say anything you want; but it’s an organization’s right to fire you if you don’t align within their company policies and/or cost them in monetary damages.
And a lot of the sentiment in the sports world is still stemming from the fact that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was shut out of football for choosing to not stand for the national anthem. A move against him that has even sparked protest outside of the NFL’s headquarters in New York City. So with so much going on, it’s no wonder they are trying to distance themselves from her statements. But in the end, Hill is still an employee of ESPN. So for now it’s a waiting game to see the final decision. And as much as I agree with freedom of speech, you have to be willing to also take the lose from a company not willing to continue to do business with you.
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