Sports journalist Jemele Hill does not seem to be a fan of a rumored White House summit between President Donald Trump and some athletes and musicians, including Kanye West and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to discuss race relations.
The trendsetter for the take-knee, national anthem protests in the National Football League, Kaepernick went unsigned in the 2017 season and is still unemployed.
Pastor Darrell Scott, a prominent Trump supporter, told TMZ that invites have already been sent out to Kap and others for the meeting, “which has apparently gotten fast-tracked thanks to Kanye’s professed love for 45,” a reference to Trump being the 45th president and Kanye’s recent tweetstorm about independent political thinking. Scott added that Trump is very enthusiastic about the possibility of open dialogue with various luminaries.
Amid low ratings, Hill, the former co-host of the heavily promoted 6 p.m. Eastern edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter (SC6 or The Six), left the anchor desk and shifted over to ESPN’s long-form journalism site The Undefeated in January. The other host, Michael Smith, left the show in February for another assignment within ESPN.
Jemele Hill sparked controversy by accusing President Trump of being a white supremacist back in September 2017. She later pushed for an advertiser boycott of the Dallas Cowboys following an announcement by owner Jerry Jones that players on his team must stand during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” In the latter case, ESPN suspended Hill for two weeks.
On the Complex Out of Bounds show, Jemele Hill asserted that the potential sit-down is supposedly “really about a photo op,” particularly with the 2018 midterm congressional elections fast approaching, Fox News reported.
She also claimed that there might be ramifications for those anti-Trump celebrities who decline the invitation.
“If some of these musicians and athletes who have been critical of him, if they don’t show up, that will also be used as a kind of a chew toy for his base again to say, ‘See, I tried, but this…”’
In an essay posted to The Undefeated, Jemele Hill similarly expressed skepticism about whether the White House meeting would be worthwhile, arguing that “My concern is that this summit is just a front to exploit the players and artists for their popularity.”
She also claimed that Trump’s condemnation of the national anthem protests served to “torpedo” Kaepernick’s career as an NFL signal caller and failed to be responsive to Kap’s underlying message about racial injustice.
A date for the meeting has yet to be announced, and it also has yet to be established if Colin Kaepernick will accept or has accepted Trump’s invitation.