Rev. Al Sharpton explains why Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ decision to make players stand for the national anthem “smacks of a plantation mentality.”
USA TODAY Sports
Rev. Al Sharpton said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a “plantation mentality” in a news conference Tuesday where he called for ESPN to reinstate anchor Jemele Hill, who was suspended two weeks for violating the company’s social media policy.
“We found the suspension of Jemele Hill to be outrageous at best and insulting in fact,” Sharpton said outside’s ESPN’s offices in New York. “To suspend someone for tweeting an analysis of what Jerry Jones did to act as though somehow desecrates the name of the company seems to us to be a bridge too far.”
Hill, who last month rankled ESPN execs and others over a tweet where she called President Trump “a white supremacist,” was suspended Monday for writing on Twitter that people should put pressure on the Cowboys by “not patronizing” the team’s advertisers.
Jones has stepped up his criticism in recent days of players’ national anthem protests meant to draw attention to racial inequality and has pledged to bench players who refuse to stand during The Star-Spangled Banner.
“Jerry Jones’ decision in many ways smacks of a plantation mentality,” Sharpton said.
Rashad Robinson, executive director of the racial justice organization Color Of Change, called ESPN’s suspension of Hill “a flagrant suppression of black voices in sports” in a statement Tuesday.
“ESPN is happy to stand with enablers of racism and sexism, but dare speak out against these issues and you’re in trouble,” Robinson said. “They seek to champion black athletes, activists, and hosts until billionaires like Jerry Jones threaten their revenue streams. … By choosing to ban its reporters’ opinions, ESPN is making an explicitly political decision to side with the Trump administration on the wrong side of history.”
Follow Perez on Twitter @byajperez