Former ESPN broadcaster Jemele Hill is not happy with how her former colleague Stephen A. Smith responded to the Dana White controversy.
White remains in hot water after footage of him hitting his wife during an argument on New Year’s Eve went viral. He has since apologized to his wife for his role in the incident and claimed it was the only time they’ve gotten physical in their relationship.
White’s wife echoed that sentiment in a public statement, saying that his behavior was completely out of character. She also took responsibility for her role in the fight, which included hitting White during the altercation.
Criticism of White and his wife’s actions have been plentiful, although so is criticism of media coverage surrounding the incident. Actors Jamie Foxx and D.L. Hughley recently questioned media coverage and those taking a light stance on White.
Smith and Molly Qerim, co-hosts of ESPN’s First Take, recently responded to White’s fight with his wife by defending his character. Qerim shared her amicable relationship with White and said she has “the utmost respect” for him.
Hill, a former ESPN personality, is appalled with how Smith and others have defended White’s character amidst controversy.
Jemele Hill: Stephen A. Smith, ESPN “Pretty Soft” On Dana White
In a recent column for The Atlantic, Hill questioned Smith and ESPN’s response to White assaulting his wife.
“The issue isn’t that ESPN has ignored White’s situation entirely. It’s just that the coverage of the incident has overall been pretty soft,” Hill wrote. “Having worked at ESPN for 12 years, I know intimately the difference between cursory coverage and a nonstop national conversation fueled by the massive sports-media machine…
During her time at ESPN, Hill was a co-host for SC6 alongside Michael Smith up until 2018. She also contributed to ESPN’s digital media team and appeared on multiple television programs for the network.
The UFC and its owners, Endeavor, have yet to publicly comment on White’s viral fight. It’s uncertain if he’ll appear at upcoming UFC events amidst this controversy, including the year’s first pay-per-view at UFC 283.
MMA journalist Ariel Helwani has also questioned some of the media’s intentions with their coverage of White. He pointed to a double standard with how some media members respond to similar controversies in other sports compared to how they do in MMA.
As the aftermath of White’s incident continues to evolve, Hill remains hopeful that the media, including those at ESPN, change their tone on his domestic violence incident.
Do you agree with Jemele Hill’s criticism of media coverage of Dana White?