Last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stephen welcomed the most politically engaged sportscaster out there, Jemele Hill!
Jemele Hill showed up for The Late Show ready to be interviewed. Actually, it’s more likely that Hill just really knows what she’s talking about so she’s that on-the-ball when it comes to the big questions – and you know with Colbert involved, she was asked the big questions. Jemele Hill is known as a sports journalist, formerly of ESPN and currently of The Atlantic, but she’s probably better known as being the most politically engaged sportscaster in television.
Hill received a lot of attention – both positive and negative – from calling Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter following the Charlottesville riots.
And she owned it.
Because sports is so affected by culture, and in turn sports effects culture, and because the same can be said of politics, Jemele Hill has realized that it all needs to be looked at in the same context. She’s brought intersectionality to sports, where, spoken or not, things like politics, race, gender and social class are not only relevant, but all intertwined together.
And it’s not a secret that politics is in sports – like when many of the Eagles came out to say they wouldn’t be visiting the Trump White House after their Superbowl win this year. Or like when LeBron James tweeted “u bum” at Donald Trump.
LeBron James has particularly been a vocal speaker against Trump and his administration – for which Jemele Hill has high praise.
And you can’t talk about athletes speaking out against those who abuse their power without bringing up Colin Kaepernick – the football player who famously took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and systemic oppression. Kaepernick started a movement in the NFL, and got nearly all of America talking about social injustice, from one point of view or another. Hill has the most respect for the hero Kaepernick, but unfortunately her respect doesn’t undo Kaepernick’s true martyrdom: he’s unlikely to play football for the NFL ever again, but his actions as a martyr could effect, and have affected, more change than any working quarterback ever could.
Stephen’s guests, more often than not, come out with a jovial smile, goof around and plug some movie that might be good. Jemele Hill, on the other hand, clicked immediately with Colbert’s political side, and the entire interview was always in motion and about really important stuff. He thrives in that kind of setting, and while it would be unsustainable for The Late Show to have highly political and/or controversial guests on nightly, you can’t help but look forward to whenever the next one will be.