NBC sports sideline reporter Michele Tafoya Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It might be coincidental that a recent Michele Tafoya podcast episode description went viral the same day that Sage Steele announced she was leaving ESPN to “exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” but sometimes the universe works in mysterious, wonderful ways.

Tafoya, a longtime sideline reporter for CBS Sports, ABC, ESPN, and NBC, left that world behind in 2022. The multiple Sports Emmy winner, who described herself as a “pro-choice conservative with libertarian leanings,” had already done some test runs on showcasing her conservative beliefs more publicly and she dove into that space fully after leaving NBC. Her first post-sports role was co-chairing a Republican campaign for Minnesota governor. In June 2022, she started her podcast, which featured episodes about the “pernicious rise of critical race theory” and “WTF is really happening on college campuses?” Around that time, she also made a rather contentious appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show which she claimed she was “ambushed” over topics like CRT and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Le Batard would later regret airing the episode.

All of this is a preamble to get us to Tuesday’s viral tweet/post/whatever from Brian Pickett, which features the title and description from a recent episode of The Michele Tafoya Podcast.

“Hunter is always in the news… But Hitler? Well, opinions about him can get you fired… And Bath & Bodyworks has made a fabulous business move involving their foaming hand soap,” reads the description of an episode titled “Hunter, Hitler And Hand Soap.”

Presumably, the Hitler mention is related to Seattle Times opinion columnist David Volodzko, who was fired after tweeting that Hitler wasn’t as evil as Vladimir Lenin since “Hitler only targeted people he personally believed were harmful to society whereas Lenin targeted even those he himself did not believe were harmful in any way.” He became a cause célèbre in conservative circles afterward.

But that’s not really what caught people’s attention. Rather, it was the seamless transition from Hitler to hand soap. As you do.

That by itself was certainly enough to get the sports media world’s attention, but quite a few people drew a connection between the transition that Tafoya has made over the last year and the one that Steele is presumably about the embark on (one in which she’ll hopefully learn how the First Amendment actually works).

[Brian Pickett, The Michele Tafoya Podcast]

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 sean@thecomeback.com.