Sage Steele's lawsuit claims ESPN analyst Ryan Clark refused to work with her following her controversial opinions

By , Audacy Sports

Longtime ESPN anchor Sage Steele is suing the network and its parent company Disney over suspending her following the controversial opinions she shared on a Jay Cutler's podcast in September of last year, which Steele states was "a violation of her constitutional right to free speech."

One of the notable portions of the suit alleges that one well-known ESPN analyst refused to work on-air with Steele due to said comments.

The opinions that were shared by Steele on Cutler’s podcast last fall include the sports anchor calling ESPN’s vaccine mandate for employees “sick” and “scary,” and added more fuel to the fire by making disparaging comments about former President Barack Obama. Steele questioned the former president, who has a white mother and a Black father, on why he identifies as Black when his father was “nowhere to be found.”

“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is, sick, and it’s scary to me in many ways,” Steele told Cutler.

“But I have a job, a job that I love, and frankly, a job that I need, but again, I love it. I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney, a global company…but it was actually emotional.”

According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by OutKick, former Pittsburgh Steeler Ryan Clark told network executives on November 12, 2021, that he wouldn’t appear on that day’s noon edition of SportsCenter unless Steele was replaced. ESPN declined Clark’s demand. Steele still anchored that edition of SportsCenter with Clark never showing up.

Another ESPN employee, fellow SportsCenter anchor Nicole Briscoe also showed her disdain for Steele by replying "Amen" to a tweet that suggested ESPN should can her from covering any woman's sporting events.

The suit also points out that Clark didn't receive any punishment for refusing to work alongside Steele. Clark has yet to respond to the allegation.

Follow Jasper Jones on Twitter: @jonesj2342

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