Britt McHenry

Since being let go by ESPN in the network’s massive wave of layoffs, reporter Britt McHenry has been attempting to redefine herself as a conservative pundit. She’s become increasingly outspoken about political issues on social media and blog posts, expressing a voice that she feels was difficult to vocalize while she worked at ESPN.

In McHenry’s view, getting away from sports has allowed her to more strongly identify herself as a conservative. Because of that, along with publicly commenting on political issues and drawing support for it, McHenry has expressed interest in making a move into politics with her career.

This is what she said to the Washington Post‘s Dan Steinberg in late July:

“What’s attractive to me right now is more than just sports,” she said. “And there aren’t a lot of women who are not afraid to express their opinion, like I have been, on the Right side. And so again, does that limit outlets? Yeah, but I think if you hate me, or if you love what I’m saying, it’s true to what I think. I’m not making it up. … I feel like a weight’s lifted off my shoulders, that I can say what I believe.”

Appearing on The Federalist Radio Hour in Washington, D.C. this week, McHenry once again expressed her ambitions to move beyond sports into political and social commentary.

“I’d rather do something that I believe and love than just take a job reading copy or doing a sideline report. I feel like I’ve done that already. I want to enter a new arena.”

McHenry went on to talk about the “stick to sports” controversy ESPN has been dealing with, expressing what many see as a liberal view in its commentary. The network should acknowledge politics and current events, especially as athletes become more outspoken on social issues, but be more inclusive in the views they allow on the air. Otherwise, yes, stick to sports.

“I think there’s a disconnect to the viewers — and I was on the road all the time, I’ve been in these stadiums, I’ve had fans come up to me — I think a lot of middle America isn’t necessarily acknowledged. I think that when you go on too much of a pioneering social justice stand — if that’s what you believe in, that’s great, good for you — but sports fans just want to watch sports. You can’t ignore that intersection of social issues with athletes and games.”

You can listen to the entire interview here, in which McHenry and host Ben Domenech discuss McHenry’s infamous incident with a parking lot attendant, how she dealt with that, and how it affected both her career and perception of her.

[Barrett Sports Media]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.