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Published On: Mon, Oct 9th, 2017

ESPN suspends Jemele Hill for calling boycott of advertisers aligned with Jerry Jones, the benching of protesting players

The ESPN anchor who called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter last month is now calling for a boycott of advertisers aligned with “America’s Team.”

Jemele Hill, host of “SC6,” called on fans to take indirect action against the Dallas Cowboys after owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they didn’t stand up during the national anthem.

“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hill wrote. “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers.”

Jones revealed the mandate just ahead of the Cowboys’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, a backlash against players “taking a knee” during the national anthem, driven in part by President Trump’s antagonistic Tweets.

“I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”

Jones’ comments, the strongest made on the anthem controversy, came after he was asked about Vice President Mike Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis early after several San Francisco 49ers players took a knee during the national anthem.

Hill, an outspoken critic of Trump, tweeted that Jones “has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones… If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts.”

The ESPN host wrote, “By drawing a line in the sand, Jerry put his players under more scrutiny and threw them under the bus… If the rationale behind JJ’s stance is keeping the fanbase happy, make him see that he is underestimated how all of his fanbase feels.”

She urged “paying customers” to “boycott his advertisers” if they don’t agree with Jones’ comments. Hill quoted a list of Cowboys’ advertisers in one of her tweets, which included AT&T, Bank of America, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Ford Motors, MillerCoors and Pepsi, and sent a message to her 760,000-plus Twitter followers.

“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hill wrote. “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers.”

ESPN agreed to pay $15.2 billion in 2011 to air the NFL’s “Monday Night Football.”

Hill escaped formal suspension after calling Trump a “white supremacist,” it remains to be seen what the sports network might do now that she has gone after the most lucrative team in professional sports.

“The NFL is the biggest crutch keeping ESPN alive. If the NFL cuts ties, which would be reasonable if the network’s employees start calling for a boycott, ESPN would be in massive trouble,” Daily Caller’s David Hookstead wrote. “Not sure how happy ESPN management will be with an employee telling NFL fans to boycott NFL related sponsors, given the fact that ESPN needs the NFL to stay alive.”

ESPN and the Cowboys did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment. The NFL declined comment.

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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