THE SPORTSCENTER SHUFFLE

Sage Steele

ESPN announced another talent shakeup on Tuesday – according to Yahoo Sports.

Anchor Elle Duncan, who has been on maternity leave, will take over for Sage Steele on the 6 p.m. ET “SportsCenter” alongside Kevin Negandhi. Steele will move to the noon “SportsCenter” slot in Duncan’s former role alongside Matt Barrie. The move will take place after the College Football Playoff in mid-January.

The swap is another maneuver spearheaded by ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson, who oversaw a recent network radio shakeup that pushed the network toward more of a strict sports focus and away from pop culture and politics. The altered radio lineup cut an hour off of Dan LeBatard’s show and played a role in his recent decision to leave the network amid creative differences with the network.

Williamson addressed the “SportsCenter” swap in the network’s announcement Tuesday:

“We have a very talented and diverse set of voices on SportsCenter and a deep lineup of quality individuals who make up the team. As we turn the page to 2021, we’re doing what we have always done — providing new opportunities for some anchors to experience different shows and pairings while offering continuity and familiarity to our viewers with other editions.”

Steele courted controversy in July, accusing her ESPN colleagues of boxing her out of a special on social and racial justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while in custody of the Minneapolis police.

Her leaked comments to network president Jimmy Pitaro accused Duncan and anchor Michael Eaves of urging network executives to keep her off of the special “because she wasn’t considered by certain Black colleagues to be an authentic voice for the Black community.”

Steele later confirmed the comments to the Wall Street Journal.

She has taken political stances on social media in the past, including criticizing Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans for kneeling to protest social and racial injustice during the national anthem and complaining about protestors interrupting her travel plans at an airport following President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from predominantly Muslim countries in 2017.