President Donald Trump attacked ESPN on Friday morning, criticizing the network in an early morning tweet while asking for an apology.
“ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming),” Trump tweeted at 7:20 a.m. ET. “People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!”
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On Monday, SportsCenter host Jemele Hill labeled Trump a “white supremacist” in a series of tweets, writing that he had "largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists" and that Trump's "rise is a direct result of white supremacy."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday called Hill’s comments “outrageous” and said it was a fireable offense.
Late Wednesday night, ESPN issued a statement that distanced itself from Hill's remarks.
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
"Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN," ESPN said in the statement to USA TODAY Sports and other outlets. "She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology."
WH Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Jemele Hill's tweets calling Trump a white supremacist were "outrageous" and a "fireable offense." pic.twitter.com/dpsLWAb5Pv— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) September 13, 2017
On Thursday night, ESPN denied a report that the network had attempted to pull Hill off the air on Wednesday. Communications manager Chris LaPlaca tweeted that the network "never asked any other anchors to do last night's show. Period."
Messages left for ESPN on Friday morning were not returned.