The Rev. Al Sharpton has waded into the latest Jemele Hill controversy. He expressed outrage Monday over Hill's two-week suspension by ESPN and threatened a boycott of the network.
Hill was suspended earlier in the day for what the network termed a “second violation” of its social media guidelines after tweeting about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' decision to make all players stand for the national anthem.
Sharpton argued in a statement that Hill was not calling for a direct boycott of Cowboys advertisers when she tweeted fans should by protest by not patronizing team advertisers or buying team merchandise.
“We consider it outrageous that Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN. She has the right to tell people that they ought to let advertisers know how they feel, since they are the consumers,” Sharpton said in the statement from his National Action Network (NAN). "While she didn’t call for a direct boycott, it’s not off the table for us in the civil rights community."
Sharpton also tweeted this message:
ESPN's suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered. ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) October 9, 2017
ESPN declined to comment when asked by Sporting News about Sharpton's statement. It also declined to say whether Hill was suspended with or without pay, and it was unclear whether Hill had also been suspended from social media.
Hill clarified her position Monday, tweeting this:
Just so we're clear: I'm not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has ordered his team's players to stand for the anthem, as well.
Neither Hill nor on-air partner Michael Smith anchored their 6 p.m “SportsCenter” Monday night. Instead, anchor Matt Barrie filled in on the show, which shifted to ESPN2 because NFL “Monday Night Countdown” was airing on ESPN. Smith is expected to return to "SC6" on Tuesday, sources told Sporting News.