Sage Steele and Joe Biden Credit: ESPN

Sage Steele is leaving no stone unturned in her post-ESPN media tour. The latest grievance she’s airing comes from interviewing President Joe Biden in 2021 for SportsCenter, which Steele has called “heartbreaking” and “sad.”

In Steele’s telling, the conversation was a testament to Biden’s inability to speak comfortably and highlighted how his family did something “inexcusable” by protecting him during the 2020 campaign.

“The human aspect of what we’re witnessing right now is heartbreaking and it’s inexcusable by the family when you knew during the election,” Steele explained during a recent appearance on Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast.

Steele overheard Biden during prep begin to explain that he was a good football player with “the best hands” in his younger years before trailing off. Steele continued that the “saddest thing” about the whole moment was when Biden cut off his story with an “oh, never mind.”

Watching the Steele-Biden interview now, it’s admittedly awkward. Like many media appearances from federal and local government officials around this time, as sports were beginning to re-emerge from the pandemic, the set questions and canned responses didn’t exactly make for great television.

To be fair, Steele played ball in the interview. Despite what we now know about her political views and feelings on the COVID-19 vaccine, she served up the questions and engaged energetically in the interview.

Hearing Steele tell the story now, like with so many of her grievances with ESPN, Disney, and the broader world, it isn’t fully clear what specific issue she is speaking about.

Throughout the Club Random interview, Steele reflexively tosses out comments about what “they” want her to do, why “they” are scared of her opinions, and how troubling “their” behavior is. Occasionally, she elaborates on who the subject of her ire is. Speaking with Maher, she criticized Major League Baseball for pulling its All-Star Game from Atlanta in 2021 over Georgia’s restrictive voting laws, as well as her thoughts on The View.

But she clearly prefers to be vague. That may be simply to keep her privacy or to maintain an upper hand and intentionally not engage in real debates about her views.

Whatever your thoughts on Joe Biden are before watching the interview, the contents will probably just back up your pre-existing opinion. There’s nothing overtly indicating he’s losing mental facility but there are also plenty of flubs and pauses.

Either way, Steele’s story here is in line with Maher and others occupying this space in media today. There’s a big market for vaguely conspiratorial, traditionalist social and political messaging in news media, and even sports media.

Take aim at a major political or social figure, hint at a talking point, paint a (very) rough picture of how your perspective informs your view, and prosper.

[Club Random on YouTube, SportsCenter on YouTube]

Sage Steele and Joe Biden
Credit: ESPN

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.