The employees at ESPN have new guidelines for what they should and shouldn’t say on social media — but clearly, Michael Rapaport isn’t an ESPN employee, and just as clearly he has no intention of holding his tongue.
“Atypical” star Rapaport vented about ESPN’s revisions to its social media policy, outlined in a company-wide memo by ESPN president John Skipper on Thursday, calling the rules “Stalin s–t.”
The revisions, sent out after “SportsCenter” anchor Jemele Hill was suspended after using Twitter to call for a boycott of Dallas Cowboys-advertisers, when team owner Jerry Jones demanded the players stand for the national anthem, state that employees should avoid “taking positions on political or social issues.”
When tweeting about politics, the new policy states that: “Writers, reporters, producers and editors directly involved in ‘hard’ news reporting, investigative or enterprise assignments and related coverage should refrain in any public-facing forum from taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders.”
As far as Rapaport is concerned, the guidelines run contrary to a long tradition of athletes and sports having an impact on the political and social landscape.
“Effective immediately, ESPN reporters are supposed to only talk about sports and sports only. But how the f— are you gonna talk about the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, and not talk politics?” Rapaport vented in a video published to his Twitter account.
“I guess you can’t turn on ESPN anymore to hear about Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Joe Louis vs. Max Schmelling, Colin Kaepernick — sorry. And you can’t say the word ‘kneel’ on ESPN anymore.”
Rapaport continued with a barrage of salty language, and a quote from boxing great Ali.
“Get the f— out of here! Yo, this is some Stalin s–t! Yankee Stadium was a safe haven in New York City after 9/11!” Rapaport declared. “Muhammad Ali would have been just another fighter if he didn’t speak out and take a stance! ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee — rumble, young man, rumble!'”
Watch Rapaport’s take-down of ESPN in the video.
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) November 2, 2017