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Jemele Hill Is Leaving SportsCenter

The controversial anchor's last day will be next week

Liam Mathews

Controversial anchor Jemele Hill is leaving SportsCenter. Michael Smith will anchor the 6 p.m. SportsCenter broadcast by himself after Hill leaves on Friday, Feb. 2.

ESPN confirmed that Hill will be shifting to a different role within the sports media organization as chief correspondent and senior columnist for The Undefeated, ESPN's sports, race and culture website, and as an on-air contributor.

The departure was Hill's choice. She went to ESPN executives late last year and requested a different role, she explained in a statement.

"I started at ESPN 11 years ago as a columnist and while I have worn many hats in the time since, my true love always has been writing, reporting and commentary," she said. "While I have grown in every way imaginable this last year on the 6 p.m. SportsCenter, deep down I knew it wasn't my calling."

Controversies during Hill's tenure anchoring ESPN's flagship program probably contributed to her decision to step down. Hill was suspended by the sports network for two weeks in October for a tweet criticizing Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones said that he would bench any player who knelt during the National Anthem and Hill suggested that fans who disagree with him should boycott Cowboys advertisers. ESPN said this type of political statement violated the network's social media policy.

In September, President Trump called for her firing after she called him a "white supremacist." She was not suspended at that time. In January, Donald Trump called Haiti and some African nations "s---hole countries" and said the United States should accept more immigrants from Norway, which some commentators said vindicated Hill and that ESPN should apologize for suspending her.

The Hollywood Reporterfirst reported the news of Hill's exit.