Former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill said Sunday President Trump's comments about NFL player national anthem protests during his inaugural State of the Union address were akin to "racial pornography."
“I wasn’t surprised and I think this is going to be probably a constant thing for the president because it’s a very easy dog whistle. It’s low-hanging fruit. It’s what I like to call ‘racial pornography’ because it’s a way to stoke his base," Hill, who is now associated with ESPN website Undefeated, told MSNBC.
"And look, in a weird way I think it’s kind of weirdly brilliant because he has been able to hijack the entire conversation and to make this about patriotism,” she continued.
Trump took a subtle jab at the NFL during his first official State of the Union speech on Tuesday, praising the respect Americans show for veterans when they stand for the anthem.
Hill was suspended from SportsCenter for two weeks in 2017 after twice infringing ESPN's social media policy.
The first time was in September when she took to Twitter to call Trump a "white supremacist" following remarks he made about the deadly unrest in Charlottesville, Va., that happened during a Unite the Right rally of white supremacists.
The second occasion was in October when she suggested fans boycott companies that advertise with the Dallas Cowboys over the franchise's handling of players who refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Hill added Sunday morning there was a lot of "misinformation" being spread about the reason for the player protests, namely racial injustice and police brutality rather than as an intentional affront to military personnel.
On Sunday afternoon, Trump thanked America’s armed forces ahead of the Super Bowl and prodded viewers of the game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to stand for the anthem.