Sage Steele has made some serious waves in recent weeks, criticizing her employer ESPN's vaccine mandate, and taking aim at a number of people, including former president Barack Obama. She has been pulled off of ESPN's air for a few days now, though it is not about her recent media appearances and statements, at least in full.
During an appearance on Uncut with Jay Cutler last week, Steele confirmed that she is vaccinated, but only because she would have been let go had she not received the shot on Sept. 30, due to a Disney mandate.
“I didn’t want to do it,” Steele said, after Cutler asked about a bandaid on her arm. “But I work for a company that mandates it and I had until September 30 to get it done or I’m out…I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is, um, sick. And it’s scary to me in many ways."
It is unclear if Steele had received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or if she was on either the first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. In any case, it appears that she contracted COVID-19 around the same time that she was vaccinated, explaining her recent absence from SportsCenter. According to sports media insider Michael McCarthy, the diagnosis does coincide with ESPN/Disney leadership believing that Steele should take "some time off."
"The co-anchor of the noon 'SportsCenter' is expected to be off for at least a week," McCarthy reports. "Steele is also expected to skip her turn as host of the espnW: Women + Sports Summit, which takes place Oct. 18-20.
"Steele has tested positive for COVID-19, according to sources. But her not appearing on air goes beyond her diagnosis."
McCarthy said that Steele's recent comments, which include a bizarre tweet comparing school mask mandates to children being shot in Chicago, "did not god over well in Bristol or Burbank." It is unclear whether the company would have gone so far as to suspend Steele, but her COVID-mandated absence will mandate that she is away for a bit as is. During the Cutler podcast, she also questioned Barack Obama's decision to identify himself as African-American on the 2010 U.S. Census.
Steele apologized for her statements earlier today, after receiving a wave of criticism from former colleagues, including Jemele Hill and Keith Olbermann.
We'll have more on the Sage Steele situation as it comes out.