NFL reporter fired for 'unprofessional' anti-Trump tweet as politics invades sports
On Saturday, NFL reporter Bart Hubbuch lost his job at the New York Post. On Monday night, he revealed why.
Hubbuch said he was fired from the Post, where he worked as a sports reporter since 2007, for a tweet comparing President Trump's inauguration to the terrorist 9/11 attacks and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hubbuch has since deleted the tweet and his subsequent apology, in which he called the decision to compare Trump's inauguration to 9/11 "insensitive and wrong" and added, "I shouldn't have done it."
But in his statement Monday night, Hubbuch noted it was his "personal belief that Donald Trump becoming President of the United States is a national tragedy."
"We expect our reporters to interact with the public, including on social media, in a professional manner," said a Post spokesperson. "Unfortunately, Mr. Hubbuch has engaged in a pattern of unprofessional conduct and exhibited serious lack of judgment, including most recently showing disrespect for the victims of Pearl Harbor and 9/11."
Back in September, Hubbuch deleted his entire account after an intense backlash from Boston sports fans caused by his sharing the "totally not-shocking fact" that Jacoby Brissett would be the first black quarterback to start for the Patriots in the team's 57-year history.
The Post is owned by News Corp, where Rupert Murdoch, the company's executive co-chairman, reportedly has close ties to Trump.
With Trump's election, sports personalities speaking publicly about politics has become a thorny issue to navigate for some publishers. The Post doesn't prevent its sports reporters from discussing politics, but ESPN enacted a policy during the U.S. presidential campaign demanding its hosts "refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or 'drive-by' comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns."
But that has done little to stop some ESPN personalities from entering the fray. On Sunday, NBA Countdown host Sage Steele was criticized by her own colleagues after complaining on Instagram about the inconvenience she was forced to endure because of protesters of Trump's immigration ban at Los Angeles International airport.
ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard not only ripped Steele for a complaint he viewed to be "the height of privilege," but he also slammed The Worldwide Leader for trying to muzzle its hosts by issuing a memo telling them not to offer their political opinions.
"They don't want to open the door so that everyone at ESPN is talking politics instead of sports in a way that alienates. But I think the way we are doing it is weak," Le Batard said on his show Monday.
"They don't want you talking about things in a way that calls the president an idiot who thinks that he's smart," Le Batard continued. "That's the most dangerous kind of idiot, an idiot who doesn't know he's an idiot. They don't want you doing things like that, that then opens up the portal for everybody at ESPN to bash the president in a way that doesn't discuss the facts and is just anti-Trump."
Le Batard, whose parents were born in Cuba, objected to the idea that ESPN would allow Steele to complain about the protests, but tried to keep him off the subject of immigration.
"You can't give this a voice and then muzzle the rest of us," Le Batard said of Steele's comments. "You can't give Sage Steele this voice and then muzzle the son of exile."
ESPN baseball reporter Pedro Gomez also weighed in about the protests on Sunday, and responded to a follower who suggested he should avoid mixing sports and politics on his Twitter account.
Inside ESPN, some feel the politics of the network, especially in the wake of Trump's election, have become a little obvious.