Sage Steele ruffled plenty of feathers during her time with ESPN, especially in the black community. Her platform may be disappearing from beneath her feet, though, as the network has chosen to pull her from their Basketball coverage on the sports channel and its sister network, ABC. She will be replaced for the rest of the year by Michelle Beadle, the current host of "SportsNation."

Rare in-season change

The personnel change affects the "NBA Countdown" show the most. Steele and Beadle served as hosts over the past year, with Chauncey Billups, Jalen Rose, Tracy McGrady, and Michael Wilbon popping up from time to time.

The basketball show is a staple of the ESPN/ABC programming, serving as one of the most popular sport-specific shows on either network.

Beadle will continue to serve as a host of "SportsNation" going forward, but it's unclear what this means for Steele's future at ESPN. She has been with the network for a decade, filling notable roles on "SportsCenter," "First Take," and even "SportsNation." The basketball world will continue to churn without her, but it wouldn't have needed to if the host had stopped herself from stepping into some major racial controversies lately.

Controversy after controversy

Steele has been viewed by members of the black community as somewhat of a controversial figure, making negative comments about the community.

She ended an interview during a celebrity basketball game on ESPN in February when Arcade Fire lead singer Win Butler started to discuss his political beliefs.

She also posted something controversial to Instagram in the wake of the first travel ban. Steele complained about missing a flight due to protesters, appearing to be indifferent and petty when considering the plight of refugees and Muslims who felt discriminated against by the executive order.

ESPN will never say whether or not they took her off of basketball coverage - one of the most popular sports in the black community - for these reasons, but the writing may as well be on the wall.

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