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Former ESPN personality and anchor Sage Steele has decided to remain quiet on rumors that she is being recruited to run for Congress.
Political news outlet Daily Ructions first reported on Monday that Republican leaders and donors in Washington and Connecticut were pressing Steele to consider launching a campaign against Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) for the state’s 5th district congressional seat.
Sources confirmed to the New York Post that “exploratory conversations have occurred” with the former sports anchor.
Hayes, who is serving in her third term in the House, defeated challenger former state Sen. George Logan (R) in the 2022 midterm election.
In response to the reports, Steele told the Indianapolis Star via a direct message on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that she had “No comment on this … but I appreciate you asking.”
The latest wave of rumors comes a month after Steele announced her departure from ESPN.
“Life update. Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave, so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele wrote in an X post.
She was referencing a lawsuit she filed against her employer and its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, last year over allegations that her free speech rights were violated. Steele alleged that the sports media outlet retaliated against her for comments she made in an appearance on the “Uncut with Jay Cutler” podcast.
Steele told former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler at the time that her company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate was “sick” and said she finds former President Obama identifying as Black “fascinating” because he was raised by his white mother and grandmother.
In response, ESPN removed her from programming for a week for the comments.
Steele, who spent 16 years with ESPN, has been one of few sports media personalities to speak openly about their conservative beliefs.
Former ESPN reporter Allison Williams made headlines in 2021 when she stepped down from her role with the company over her disagreement with its vaccine mandate. Williams, who later joined conservative media outlet The Daily Wire, also filed a lawsuit against her former employer earlier this year, alleging that the company terminated her contract after she refused to get vaccinated.
Michelle Tafoya, a former NFL sideline reporter, left her gig with NBC Sports last year to serve as co-chair for Kendall Qualls’ gubernatorial bid in Minnesota.
The Hill has reached out to Hayes’ office for comment.