Jemele Hill
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Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill
Jemele Hill 2020 (cropped).jpg
Hill at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2020
Jemele Juanita Hill

(1975-12-21) December 21, 1975 (age 44)
EducationMumford High School
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationSports journalist
Years active1997-present
Ian Wallace (m. 2019)[1]

Jemele Juanita Hill (; born 1975)[2] is an American sports journalist who writes for The Atlantic. She worked nearly 12 years for sports conglomerate ESPN. She wrote a column for's Page 2 and formerly hosted ESPN's His and Hers. In June 2013, she succeeded Jalen Rose on ESPN2's Numbers Never Lie. In February 2017, Hill and Michael Smith became co-hosts of SC6, the 6 p.m. (ET) edition of ESPN's flagship SportsCenter. Hill remained in that role until February 2018, when ESPN moved her to their website, The Undefeated. She joined The Atlantic in October 2018.

Early life

Hill was born in Detroit on December 21,[3] 1975.[2] She and her mother moved to Houston in 1980, then later back to Detroit.[2] Hill graduated from Mumford High School in 1993,[4] then from Michigan State University in 1997.[5]



Hill began her career as general assignment sports writer for the Raleigh News & Observer. From 1999 to 2005, she served as a sports writer with the Detroit Free Press, mainly covering Michigan State football and basketball.[6] While at the Free Press, she also covered the 2004 Summer Olympics and the NBA Playoffs.[7] Hill worked as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 2005 to 2006.[8]


Hill at Web Summit 2018

Hill joined ESPN in November 2006 as a national columnist on She made regular appearances on television, including SportsCenter and several ESPN programs, including ESPN First Take, Outside the Lines and The Sports Reporters. During the 2012 college football season, she worked on Friday nights as a sideline reporter with Carter Blackburn and Rod Gilmore.

During the 2008 NBA Playoffs, Hill was suspended from her post after referencing Adolf Hitler in an article about the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. In an editorial describing why she could not support the Celtics, Hill wrote: "Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It's like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan." The comments generated a negative response, and that portion of the editorial was taken out shortly after the column was published. Hill, a Pistons fan, wrote that: "to some degree it was about race. Detroit is 80 percent black, and as my colleague J.A. Adande stated in a fantastic piece on the Celtics earlier this season, the mostly white Celtics teams of the past had a tough time being accepted by black audiences. Boston was viewed by black as a racially intolerant city."[9] Hill was subsequently suspended for one week and she issued an apology through ESPN.[10]

The network drew criticism for its treatment of Hill, as another employee, former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, also made a Hitler reference in 2008 and was not suspended.[11][12]

In July 2020, Hill wrote a long article detailing her deep regret for the Hitler reference. She wrote that she felt embarrassed about it immediately after she was called out on it, and still feels embarrassed about it more than a decade later. She concluded that her suspension from ESPN was "a punishment that I deserved."[13]

His & Hers

In 2011, Hill and Michael Smith began the podcast His & Hers. Its popularity led to ESPN adding Hill to Smith's ESPN2 show Numbers Never Lie in 2013, which was renamed His & Hers a year later.[6][14] In addition to sports, the show covered social and relationship issues and pop culture, including favorite television shows, music and several movie spoofs.[6] Writing at the Los Angeles Times, Stephen Battaglio contrasted Hill and Smith's style with the "vein-bulging, finger-pointing debates... filling hours of sports talk programming." Instead, he said, "Hill and Smith often agree and never take an opposing view just for the sake of creating provocative television... They are powered by wound-up energy."[14]His & Hers ran through January 2017.[8]


On February 6, 2017, Hill and Smith became evening anchors of ESPN's flagship show, SportsCenter.[15] Airing at 6 p.m., their installment of SportsCenter was called "SC6 with Michael and Jemele".[14] Writing at Vibe, Michael Saponara said the new show was expected to focus on "the duo's developed chemistry, and bold personalities instead of the traditional Sportscenter which mostly stuck to highlights of the day's events."[16] ESPN's ratings for the 6 o'clock hour have declined since Hill and Smith took over the rebranded SC6.[17][18][19]

On September 11, 2017, Hill made a series of tweets critical of President Donald Trump, including describing him as a "white supremacist."[20][21][22] ESPN issued a statement saying Hill's comments "do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate."[23] Hill later clarified that she stood by her comments as representative of her personal beliefs; "My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light."[24] Some criticized Hill's comments,[25][26][27] including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who called them "a fireable offense by ESPN";[28] Trump criticized the network and demanded an apology.[24] Others voiced support for Hill[29][30] and criticized ESPN[31] and the White House's responses, arguing that Hill's comments were accurate[32][33][34] and that a White House official suggesting Hill be fired infringed on the First Amendment.[35]

On October 9, 2017, ESPN suspended Hill for two weeks for a "second violation of our social media guidelines".[36] Hill suggested fans upset with Jerry Jones' threat to bench any player who does "anything that is disrespectful to the flag" should boycott the advertisers who support Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.[37] On January 25, 2018, ESPN announced that Hill would anchor her final SC6 on February 2, and begin a new role at The Undefeated, the company's website that covers the intersections of sports and race.[38]

The Atlantic

On October 1, 2018, The Atlantic announced that she was joining the magazine as a staff writer.[39][40]


On April 15, 2019, Hill launched her podcast, "Jemele Hill is Unbothered", which covers sports, politics and culture.[41] New episodes air twice during the week on Spotify. According to Hill, the podcasts' talk about sports "covers those tricky intersections: race, gender, politics".[42]

In 2020, Hill launched a twice-weekly podcast with Van Lathan on The Ringer called Way Down in the Hole, which recaps each episode of HBO's The Wire.[43]


In 2007, Hill won the inaugural McKenzie Cup, awarded in honor of sports editor Van McKenzie, at the annual Poynter Media Summit.[44]

In 2018, Hill was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists, in recognition of "a distinguished body of work with extraordinary depth, scope and significance to the people of the African Diaspora."[45]


  1. ^ Kai, Maiysha. "Unbothered and Officially Wed! Jemele Hill Marries Longtime Love Ian Wallace". The Root. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Curtis, Bryan (September 13, 2017). "Jemele Hill on the Fight for the Future of ESPN". The Ringer. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Tweet on Dec 21, 2019,
  4. ^ "Hall of Fame - Jemele Hill". 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ Bao, Robert (2007). "Spartan Profiles: Jemele Hill". MSU Alumni Association. Lansing, Michigan. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Crawford, Kirkland (February 5, 2017). "Jemele Hill, Michael Smith bring unique style brand to 'SportsCenter'". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan: Gannett Company. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Cox Barrett, Liz (July 7, 2006). "Jemele Hill on Being Black, Female, Young - and On the Sports Page". Columbia Journalism Review. New York City: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ a b Boedeker, Hal (February 3, 2017). "'SportsCenter' host humbled to hold 'ESPN's baby'". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Orlando Sentinel Media Group. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Montenaro, Domenico (September 17, 2017). "ESPN Flap Shows People Can't Even Agree On What They're Arguing Over In Trump Era". Washington DC. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Heslam, Jessica (June 18, 2008). "ESPN suspends columnist Jemele Hill". Boston Herald. Boston, Massachusetts: GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Daulerio, A. J. (October 20, 2008). "ESPN's Inconsistent Hitler Reference Policy Enables Lou Holtz to Get a Pass". Deadspin. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Harvey, Randy (October 20, 2008). "ESPN should suspend Lou Holtz for Hitler remark". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Hill, Jemele. "DeSean Jackson's Blind Spot." The Atlantic. 13 July 2020. 14 July 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Battaglio, Stephen (February 5, 2017). "Michael Smith and Jemele Hill bring their 'His & Hers' attitude to ESPN's 'SportsCenter'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ Penrice, Rhonda Racha (February 6, 2017). "Jemele Hill and Michael Smith Are Taking Over SportsCenter, and Somewhere, Stuart Scott Is Smiling". The Root. New York City: Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ Saponara, Michael (February 6, 2017). "Michael Smith and Jemele Hill's Top 5 'His And Hers' Moments". Vibe. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ Holloway, Daniel (September 13, 2017). "Jemele Hill Controversy Magnifies Troubles at ESPN". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Travis, Clay (September 14, 2017). "On the First Amendment, ESPN, & Modern Media". Outkick The Coverage. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Lisk, Jason (May 9, 2017). "SC6 at 3 Months: Michael Smith and Jemele Hill Haven't Saved ESPN SportsCenter Ratings Yet". The Big Lead. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ Reimer, Alex (September 12, 2017). "Did Jemele Hill violate ESPN's social media policy for calling Donald Trump a 'white supremacist?". WEEI Sports Radio Network. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "Outspoken Trump critic Jemele Hill leaving ESPN". NBC News. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ Harrison, Guy, et al. "The "Angry Black Woman": How Race, Gender, and American Politics Influenced User Discourse Surrounding the Jemele Hill Controversy." Howard Journal of Communications (2019): 1-13.
  23. ^ Spain, Kevin (September 12, 2017). "ESPN sends out statement regarding Jemele Hill tweets". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ a b Johnson, Ted (September 15, 2017). "Trump Attacks ESPN Over Jemele Hill's Comments". Variety. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Bianchi, Mike (September 12, 2017). "Commentary: ESPN's Jemele Hill -- former Sentinel writer -- was wrong to call Donald Trump a white supremacist". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Orlando Sentinel Media Group. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Strawberry, Darryl (September 14, 2017). "ESPN double standard? Fired Curt Schilling reacts to reporter who called Trump 'white supremacist'". Fox News. New York City: News Corp. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ "Darryl Strawberry on ESPN's Jemele Hill: Rally and support President Trump". Fox Business. New York City: News Corp. September 13, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ Payne, Marissa (September 13, 2017). "White House: ESPN should fire Jemele Hill over Trump 'white supremacist' tweet". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ Chavez, Chris (September 13, 2017). "NABJ backs Jemele Hill after Trump comments". Sports Illustrated. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ Boren, Cindy (September 18, 2017). "Jemele Hill 'checkmated' ESPN: Bill Simmons says she accomplished what he could not". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ Kalaf, Samer (September 12, 2017). "ESPN Issues Craven Apology For Jemele Hill's Accurate Descriptions Of Donald Trump". Deadspin. New York City: Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ Cooper, Brittney (September 15, 2017). "Jemele Hill Called Donald Trump a White Supremacist. Where's the Lie?". Cosmopolitan. New York City: Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ Friedman, Nathaniel (September 14, 2017). "What Jemele Hill's Critics Don't Realize About Themselves". GQ. New York City: Advance Publications. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ Wemple, Erik (September 15, 2017). "ESPN's Jemele Hill stands by her statement that Trump is a white supremacist". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ Ayala, Christine (September 14, 2017). "WH interfered with Jemele Hill's right of free expression". The Hill. Washington DC. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ Belson, Ken; Draper, Kevin (October 9, 2017). "Jemele Hill Suspended by ESPN After Response to Jerry Jones". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Publishing Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017.
  37. ^ Davis, Scott (October 9, 2017). "ESPN suspends Jemele Hill, who was in hot water over Trump comments, for another controversial tweet". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ Hall, Andy (January 26, 2018). "Jemele Hill Getting New ESPN Duties; Michael Smith Continuing as SportsCenter Host" (Press release). ESPN. Retrieved 2018.
  39. ^ Schad, Tom (October 1, 2018). "Former ESPN staffer Jemele Hill joining The Atlantic as staff writer". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved 2018.
  40. ^ "Jemele Hill Is Joining The Atlantic and Ready to Talk Politics". Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ Bauder, David (April 13, 2019). "Jemele Hill still speaking her mind, this time on podcast". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2020.
  42. ^ Best, Neil (April 14, 2019). "After a wild two-year ride, Jemele Hill is 'Unbothered'". Newsday. Retrieved 2020.
  43. ^
  44. ^ Walters, Pat (April 23, 2007). "Jemele Hill Wins McKenzie Cup". Poynter. Retrieved 2017.
  45. ^ Axson, Scooby (May 21, 2018). "ESPN's Jemele Hill named NABJ Journalist of the Year". Sports Illustrated. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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