Connecticut ACLU Criticizes ESPN For Anchor’s Suspension

Oct 11, 2017

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill attends ESPN: The Party 2017 in Houston, Texas, in February.
Credit John Salangsang / Invision via AP

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut says it condemns Bristol-based ESPN for suspending anchor Jemele Hill after she shared her thoughts about NFL protests on her personal social media page.

Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks on Monday after she posted a tweet targeting Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones stated that players who disrespect the flag by kneeling during the national anthem would be benched. In a series of tweets, Hill suggested that fans who disagree with Jones should boycott the team’s advertisers. She later clarified that she wasn’t calling for an NFL boycott.  

David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, says state laws protect Hill’s right to express her personal views outside of the workplace.   

“Connecticut law is more protective than federal law and many other states where private companies have the right to reprimand employees for on-the-job speech that is not consistent with the employer. But on the converse, private companies are not able to go after employees that’s in their personal space, whether that be outside the company orally or in their personal media account.”

McGuire says ESPN should reconsider its policy that he says punishes a journalist for siding with the First Amendment and against racism.