ESPN’s Jemele Hill is leaving her post as a “SportsCenter” anchor next month, the network announced Friday. She will join the company’s website the Undefeated as a chief correspondent and senior columnist.
Hill also will work on longer pieces for ESPN’s “E:60” sports newsmagazine broadcast and appear as a commentator on many of the network’s shows, including “SportsCenter.”
Hill and Michael Smith were named co-anchors of the 6 p.m. edition of the sports-news show, relaunched as “SC6,” in February 2017. Smith is expected to continue anchoring the program on his own.
Hill said in a statement released by ESPN that it was she who initiated the change in her role within the company.
“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,” she stated. “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] Connor Schell recently and asked if they would consider rethinking 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.
“My first choice was to work with the Undefeated, a site that covers the intersection of race, African American culture and sports in creative and compelling ways.”
Last fall, Hill was suspended by ESPN for two weeks after she suggested on Twitter that fans unhappy with statements by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones boycott the team’s advertisers and stop buying merchandise. Jones had said that players who “disrespect the flag” wouldn’t get to play.
That move came a month after Smith apologized for using Twitter to suggest that President Trump was a white supremacist and a bigot. ESPN accepted Hill’s apology at the time. Days later, network President John Skipper issued a memo telling employees to avoid “inflammatory” comments on social media.
Hill has three years remaining on her contract with ESPN.
1:45 p.m.: This article was updated with confirmation by ESPN and comments from Hill.
This article was originally published at 8:45 a.m.