Journalist Jemele Hill and ESPN Host Stephen A. Smith exchanged words on social media on Thursday about the never-ending topic of Colin Kaepernick in the NFL.
Stephen A. has been on record saying that behind the scenes he was working with Roc Nation to help get Kaepernick back in the NFL. Hill responded to a clip of the First Take host talking about his role in helping the former NFL QB get back in the league.
“Arguably ESPN’s most prominent talent admitting to help orchestrate a workout for Colin Kaepernick … yeah let me go back to minding my business,” Hill wrote on Twitter. On its surface, it may not look like a big deal that Smith was trying to get Kaepernick back to work, but Hill’s issue was with a code of ethics that comes with journalism.
As a reporter, which Stephen A. is, it is a conflict of interest to report on the NFL and then work with the NFL behind the scenes. To make a political equivalency, that would be like CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper working with the Trump administration on immigration policy.
Stephen A. responded to his former ESPN colleague in a tweet saying “What I’ve said on many occasions on First Take & ESPN Radio: that I was behind the scenes speaking to ppl in support of getting Kaepernick back into NFL. So what’s the problem now?”
Hill responded saying she’ll call Stephen A. to take their dispute off of social media. Hill formerly worked for Sports Center, but the relationship between Hill and the network soured after she called Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. Hill was suspended after the controversial tweet and eventually left ESPN and is currently a writer for The Atlantic as well as a host of the Unbothered podcast on Spotify.