“I was in the middle of a Twitter conversation. I was replying to somebody. If I was really trying to make a bold statement, I would have added the damn president. I didn’t. I was just talking casually with somebody,” she said. “It wasn’t even original. That’s what is so crazy. I got famous for saying something that wasn’t original. It wasn’t new. It was not breaking news. I thought we all decided this after Charlottesville.”
At the time of her tweets, Hill worked for ESPN hosting the 6 p.m., hour of “SportsCenter” with Michael Smith. The network did not discipline Hill for the message but made clear she was not speaking on behalf of the company. Two days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Hill’s comment a “fireable offense.”
Hill joined ESPN in 2006 as a national columnist and made television appearances on “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “Around the Horn” and “Outside the Lines.” She hosted a town hall meeting with President Barack Obama in July 2016 about race relations, policing and racial equality.
ESPN has a history of harsh punishments for staffers who cross the NFL. The network suspended and then fired columnist and TV personality Bill Simmons in 2015 after intense criticism of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Hill told Le Batard that she was prepared to face punishment from ESPN or public backlash after her comments about Trump.
“I knew almost immediately that, if I did face some kind of permanent discipline, if I did lose my job, if I was immediately suspended, I was okay with it,” she said.