Sage Steele leaves ESPN, wants to ‘exercise my First Amendment rights more freely’

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Sage Steele announced Tuesday she left ESPN after nearly two decades with the Disney-owned company.

Steele provided the “life update” on X, saying her lawsuit against the company was settled, and she decided to leave so she can “exercise my first amendment rights more freely.”

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Sage Steele in Oakland

ESPN analyst Sage Steele talks on set during Game Four of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors on June 7, 2019 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Rey Josue II/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!” Steele wrote.

ESPN did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

The veteran broadcaster claimed the network breached her contract over its reaction to remarks she made in September 2021 podcast interview, when she spoke out against parent company Disney’s vaccine mandate and swiped former President Obama for identifying as Black and not biracial.

Sage Steele in Arizona

Sage Steele speaks onstage during The Players Tailgate Hosted By Bobby Flay and presented by Bullseye Event Group for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023 in Phoenix. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group)

Steele’s lawsuit accused ESPN of selective enforcement of its policy that bars news employees from commenting on politics and social issues. The suit alleged ESPN “violated Connecticut law and Steele’s rights to free speech based upon a faulty understanding of her comments and a nonexistent, unenforced workplace policy that serves as nothing more than pretext,” and claimed the network relied on “inaccurate third-party accounts of Steele’s comments” and “did not immediately review the actual comments or the context in which they were made.”

Steele had apologized for the remarks after the podcast interview but said the apology was forced upon her by the network.

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She joined ESPN in 2007 after starting out on Comcast SportsNet. She became one of the mainstays on “SportsCenter” and made appearances on “NBA Countdown.”

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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