Controversial ESPN host Sage Steele has worked her way back into headlines after making statements about former President Barack Obama.
A new episode of the “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast was released on Sept. 29, and Steele appeared as the guest on the former NFL quarterback’s show. Steele, who never seems to be afraid of giving her opinion, addressed a number of things like COVID vaccines and social media, but what did not sit well with viewers was what she had to say about President Barack Obama and his racial background.
An almost 30-second clip from the hour-long interview was uploaded to Twitter with Steele discussing which race she would identify as on her census after a friend asked her. Because she is biracial, Steele said she would fill out “both” boxes on the Census, but her friend informed her that choosing both wasn’t an option. The mother of three said her friend went on to bring up Obama, who is also biracial, and said, “Barack Obama chose Black, and he’s biracial.”
Steele said she responded, “Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing. I think that’s fascinating, considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found but his white mom and grandma raised him. But hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
Steele’s new controversial comments caused a whirlwind of responses from those who disagreed with her. One of those opposers was former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill. Hill quoted the clip on Twitter by addressing other alarming comments Steele made on the podcast.
She wrote, “So on top of thinking former President Obama shouldn’t identify as black because he didn’t have a relationship with his black father, Sage Steele also thinks female journalists who dress a certain way ‘know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on.’”
While it’s true Obama and his father Barack Obama Sr. didn’t have much of a relationship since his father was “largely absent” from his life, some fans thought it was also important to note that Barack Obama Sr. was killed when the former President was just 19. Allegedly, he accidentally drove his car into a tree after a day of drinking, a story some of his family members did not fully believe.
In response to Steele’s comments, investigative journalist Lisa Guerrero tweeted, “My dad is white and my mom was a Chilean immigrant. I consider myself Latina even though she is currently “nowhere to be found” because (like Obama’s father) she is dead. @sagesteele is awful.”
Commentator Roland Martin also chimed in on the conversation. He said, “This comment by
@sagesteele regarding @BarackObama is beyond idiotic. Why is it fascinating? @halleberry was estranged from her dad and still calls herself Black. And Sage, the @uscensusbureau is filled out EVERY year. We did it LAST YEAR. Race has been on it since 1790.”
Others clapped back at Sage by accusing her of struggling with her racial identity. Her father Gary Steele is Black while her mother Mona Steele is white.
One person said, “Having a Black dad around didn’t stop Sage from ignoring her black side,” while another wrote, “Clearly Sage struggles with her own identity – a conflict between what she wants to be and how she sees herself. Between Sage and Barack, who’s at peace with themselves, and who’s not…it’s stark, and honestly feel sorry for Sage – she should read more and speak less.”
Steele has yet to respond to the backlash.