Sources tell ThinkProgress that the network attempted to douse the flames by replacing Hill with another black sports anchor, Elle Duncan, but she didn’t agree to go on, either.
Producers at one point reached out to Duncan and black ESPN host Michael Eaves in an effort to replace both Hill and Smith — and he declined, too.
“Man.. this day got me like..,” Eaves ominously tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, just an hour-and-a-half before the taping of the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, also known as “The Six.”
His comments were accompanied by two angry emoji faces and another emoji with its mouth zipped.
Fearing that they would have to replace Hill and Smith with white co-hosts, sources told ThinkProgress that ESPN decided to ask the embattled anchor if she’d be willing to come back and do the show, which she did.
The network, however, denies that this ever happened.
“Yesterday was a hard and unusual day, with a number of people interpreting the day without a full picture that happened,” said Rob King, the senior vice president for news and information of SportsCenter.
“In the end, ultimately, Michael and Jemele appearing on the show last night and doing the show the way they did is the outcome we always desired.”
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz added, “We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show.”
Hill sparked widespread outrage on social media Monday night after unleashing a 15-minute tweetstorm about President Trump being a “white supremacist.”
The “Six” co-host issued an apology to her employer on Wednesday, saying she regretted the fact that her comments “painted ESPN in an unfair light.”
Still, she has refused to delete any of the posts from her Twitter rant.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself [with] other white supremacists,” Hill wrote in one of the tweets. “[I]f he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
The White House urged ESPN to fire Hill on Wednesday and scolded her for calling Trump a white supremacist.
“That’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
ESPN issued a statement Wednesday saying they…