Earlier today, reports surfaced that Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN's "SportsCenter," was stepping down from her position as co-anchor for the daily show.
Some speculated that the move may be connected to Hill's statements on social media last fall in which she called President Donald Trump a "white supremacist" and offered other controversial tweets about the anthem protests in the NFL. Eventually, she would be suspended by the network.
Hill, though, has offered an official statement via her Twitter about today's news. In it, she is adamant that the decision to leave "SportsCenter" was hers.
"I asked to leave the show — some of y'all probably need to read that sentence again — because of a strong desire to return to reporting, writing, and commentary," Hill said.
ESPN also issued an announcement confirming Hill's departure from "SportsCenter." "I started at ESPN 11 years ago as a columnist and while I have worn many hats in the time since, my true love always has been writing, reporting and commentary," Hill said in ESPN's press release. "While I have grown in every way imaginable this last year on the 6 p.m. "SportsCenter," deep down I knew it wasn’t my calling. I approached (ESPN Executive Vice President, Content) Connor Schell recently and asked if they would consider re-thinking my role. And as has been the case throughout my 11 years at this company, ESPN graciously worked with me to determine the best way for me to continue to do meaningful work."
Still, Hill took to Twitter to dispel the naysayers. "Life comes at your fast, doesn't it?" she wrote. "And while I am amused by the rumors that I was demoted, kicked off 6pm SportsCenter or whatever else can be conjured, the truth is pretty simple and not nearly as dramatic."
Hill continued, "Not many people get to say they were a SportsCenter anchor . . . So I consider myself lucky to have worn that title, and sat in the same chair as many of the icons in our business."
She added, "I am not leaving ESPN (some of y'all need to re-read that sentence too). I am going to work for our vertical, The Undefeated." Indeed, Hill is only one year into a four-year deal with ESPN.
"I chose to work with The Undefeated because I respect their passion, creativity and storytelling," Hill continued. "I have a lot of friends and people I've admired there for a long time. I'm honored to now be on their team." The Undefeated is an ESPN vertical that reports, tells stories and provides commentary through the intersections of race, sports and culture.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hill's co-host Michael Smith will host "SportsCenter" on his own once Hill leaves the show on February 2. The publication also reported that Hill will also contribute to the networks news magazine show "E:60" and provide commentary for a variety of ESPN programs, including "SportsCenter."
In Hill's statement, she acknowledged that she would contribute to "a myriad of ESPN shows. There also things I'll be involved in that I can't quite announce today. But let's just say it will make this next phase of my career that much more exhilarating."
"Anyway, I'm sorry if this isn't sexy for some of you," Hill concluded. "But this next chapter is going to be something else."