Credit: Liberty University

Former SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele had been making the rounds in conservative and Christian circles since leaving the company, sharing insights into her decisions to sue Disney and ESPN over punishment she received after making comments about the company’s vaccine mandate and why she ultimately left ESPN.

Her latest stop came last week when she spoke at Liberty University. As part of her convocation speech, Steele explained how she believes an incident in which she was hit in the face with a golf ball was the work of the devil as payback for speaking out about the COVID-19 vaccine, sharing her thoughts about being biracial, and filing the lawsuit against Disney and ESPN.

Steele had been suspended and taken off of the air for 10 days in October 2021 following her appearance on Jay Cutler’s podcast, in which she said the company’s requirement that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine was “sick” and “scary.” Following her return to SportsCenter, Steele sued ESPN and Disney in April 2022, alleging that her contract was breached and her free speech rights were violated.

A month later, she was attending the PGA Championship when an errant Jon Rahm tee shot struck her in the face. According to ESPN’s shot-tracking data, the ball traveled 281 yards off the tee at 181 miles per hour, causing her to lose eight teeth. Steele returned to SportsCenter just a few weeks later. After ramping up criticism around growing opportunities for transgender athletes, Steele left ESPN in August 2023 when her lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

All of which brings us to last Wednesday, where Steele explained how, in the moments after being hit with the golf ball, she felt it was connected to what was happening between her and ESPN.

Via The Christian Post:

“I had finally realized they’re not going to be able to glue the teeth back in. They’re not going to be able to put the flesh back in my lip and I threw it on the ground. I thought, I sat there and I realized God doesn’t want me to do this. God is telling me to be quiet. God is telling me to just stop standing up for myself, stop standing up for others, stop being true to myself,” she said.

“If they want you to say you’re black and not biracial say it. If they want you to say ‘go vaccine, everybody get it,’ … say whatever they want. Because this is what happens, this is what happens when you’re true to yourself apparently. Then I realized as I was put on the stretcher in the ambulance that wasn’t God talking to me,” she recalled.

“That was something else that was evil. That was the devil, in my opinion, trying to scare me into silence because I had just filed this lawsuit that had made global headlines. And I realized it was up to me that that hit me, there in the mouth of all places for a reason — to make sure I didn’t stay silent.”

Steele added that she was “devastated” to leave ESPN but has been happy with what has come after.

“I was devastated, (but) I had lived the dream,” she said. “I left, and since then, there have been a lot of incredible things in my life, and it’s been such a blessing to be able to be free.”

Steele has become a mainstay of the conservative talk show circuit since leaving ESPN and was rumored to be under consideration by Republican leaders and donors who wanted to see her enter a 2024 election race in Connecticut.

[The Christian Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to