MSU professor, friend and former classmate of Jemele Hill, weighs in on controversy
ESPN sports commentator Jemele Hill, an MSU alumna, has recently been facing criticism due to a tweet referring to President Donald Trump as a white supremacist.
MSU Journalism professor Joy Visconti, a friend of Hill who shared a class with her when they were at MSU together twenty years ago, remembers her involvement in journalism.
"She’s always spoken her mind," Visconti said. "People at Michigan State might remember when she was working at The State News that some of her columns created a lot of negative feedback and a lot of positive feedback as well. This isn’t anything that she hasn’t dealt with, in her career there’s always been criticism."
After the tweet, Hill released an apology on Twitter, stating: "My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect to the company and my colleagues remains unconditional".
Hill co-hosted the sports discussion television show "His & Hers" in the past. She was also previously an opinion columnist for the company and now works as an anchor for SportsCenter.
“She’s hired to give her opinion," Visconti said. "I think that she’s been pretty opinionated on her social media for years. She’s someone who’s hired to talk about what’s going on. It’s not necessarily like she’s reporting the x’s and o’s of a game, that’s not really her position anymore."
President Trump criticized Hill for addressing him as a white supremacist as well, calling for ESPN in a tweet to "apologize for untruth". White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also suggested Hill's comments were a "fireable offense."
“She often gets criticized for playing the race card or “race-baiting” or whatever, but it’s not playing a game for her, this is her life and what’s going on in her heart," Visconti said. "She’s a strong person and has a strong support network around her."
When reached for comment, Hill said she is not doing any media interviews at this time.