Thousands of Americans took to the nation’s airports over the weekend to show their support for migrants who were denied entry into the United States because of an executive order issued by President Trump on Friday night. The protests obviously would cause some consternation for travelers who merely were trying to get from Point A to Point B, and among that group was ESPN’s Sage Steele, who apparently was trying to fly from Los Angeles to Houston for the Super Bowl.
Early Monday morning, Steele posted a photo of the LAX protests on Instagram and wrote that while she’s all for the peaceful protesters she’s saddened “to see the joy on their faces knowing that they were successful in disrupting so many people’s travel plans.”
Steele’s comments drew a good amount of negative reaction on social media, some of them on the Instagram post itself. Others took to Twitter.
Steele, whose father was a colonel in the U.S. Army and describes herself as an “Army brat” in her Twitter bio, attracted some heat in November after she criticized Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest to the election of President Trump.
Last year, Steele shut down the Arcade Fire’s Win Butler after he started to talk about health care while accepting his trophy for MVP of the NBA all-star celebrity game.
In early 2016, ESPN ordered its employees to refrain from making overt political statements about the U.S. presidential campaign, demanding they “refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.” That hasn’t stopped some of its on-air talent from airing their views about the political issues of the day.
Last April, ESPN fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling for “unacceptable” conduct after he continued to share his far-right political views on Facebook. Then, in September, ESPN college football commentator Paul Finebaum issued an on-air apology after earlier stating that “this country does not oppress black people” while talking about Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.
ESPN baseball reporter Pedro Gomez, the son of Cuban refugees, spent much of the weekend retweeting news from the protests and on Sunday shot back at someone who suggested he stick to sports, in so many words:
On Sunday, ESPN reporter Josina Anderson reacted on Twitter to a Deadspin story about four-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, who said Trump’s executive order could keep him from seeing his children.
Through a spokesman, ESPN declined to comment on Steele’s latest thoughts.