SOUTHINGTON — A group of protesters blocked an entrance to ESPN’s headquarters off West Street late Monday, hours after an ESPN anchor was suspended for two weeks for comments on social media that “reflect negatively” on the company.
Police were called to ESPN about 11:55 p.m. Monday, Lt. Stephen Elliott said. There were about six protesters blocking an ESPN driveway. Police told the protesters that they were on private property, and the protesters left without incident.
Mike Soltys, a spokesman for ESPN, said the company respects “their right to protest peacefully.”
“Our focus was ensuring ESPN’s normal business operations weren’t interrupted,” he added.
Earlier on Monday, ESPN anchor Jemele Hill was suspended by the network for making political statements on social media. She sent out a series of tweets Sunday criticizing Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who suggested that players who don’t stand for the national anthem will be benched.
About 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Hill tweeted: “This play always works. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about (Jerry Jones’) statement, boycott his advertisers.”
In a follow-up tweet, Hill said she wasn’t advocating for a boycott of the NFL, but “an unfair burden has been put on players” with directives to stand for the anthem.
Last month, Hill referred to President Donald Trump in a tweet as a “white supremacist.”
She later apologized and wasn’t disciplined by ESPN.
In a statement Monday, ESPN said Hill “previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences.
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