Sage Steele

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Sage Steele
Steele at the 10th Annual CoachArt Gala Fundraiser on October 16, 2014
Sage Marie Steele

(1972-11-28) November 28, 1972 (age 51)
EducationIndiana University, Bloomington (BS)
Notable credit(s)ESPN, SportsCenter
TitleHost, reporter
Jonathan Bailey
(m. 1999; div. 2019)

Sage Marie Steele (born November 28, 1972) is an American television anchor who is the former co-host of the 12 noon (ET) SportsCenter on ESPN. She also hosted SportsCenter on the Road from various sporting events such as the Super Bowl and The Masters, and NBA Countdown on ESPN and ABC for four seasons, ending in 2017. For five years prior to the NBA assignment, Steele was a full-time host of SportsCenter, ESPN's flagship show, and had previously contributed to ESPN First Take, Mike & Mike in the Morning, and SportsNation. Steele hosted SportsCenter's daytime coverage of the NBA Finals in 2012 and 2013, and covered every NBA Finals from 2012 to 2020.

Early life[edit]

Steele is the daughter of Gary and Mona (O'Neil) Steele. Her father is African-American and her mother is of Irish-Italian descent. Gary Steele became the first black varsity football player at West Point during the mid-1960s.[1] He was inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame in 2013 for his standout career on the Black Knights football and track & field teams. He retired from the army as a colonel after a career of 23 years. [2]

Sage Steele was born in 1972 into an American Army family living in the Panama Canal Zone.[3] Steele has two brothers, Courtney and Chad (senior vice president of media relations for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens).[4][5]

The U.S. Army stationed Steele's family in several different states and countries, including Greece and Belgium, before moving back stateside to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1984 for her seventh grade year. After attending Thomas B. Doherty High School in Colorado Springs for two years, she moved to Carmel, Indiana, and attended Carmel High School as a senior, graduating in 1990.[6][7][8]

She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports communication. Exactly 20 years later, she was the commencement speaker at the 2015 Indiana University undergraduate commencement, which she considers the greatest honor of her career.[9][10]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Steele's first television sports reporting job was at WSBT-TV, the CBS affiliate in South Bend, Indiana, as a news producer and reporter from 1995 to 1997.

From there, Steele moved to CBS affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1997 to 1998 she worked as the weekend morning sports anchor and weekday reporter. Her reporting duties included the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 auto races, and local college and high school sports.

Steele's next stop was the ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa, Florida, from 1998 to 2001, where she was a sports reporter with former WFTS sports director and former SportsCenter host Jay Crawford and current "NFL RedZone" host Scott Hanson. She also worked at Fox Sports Florida as a reporter, continuing to cover teams throughout Central Florida such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning and South Florida Bulls.

In 2001, Steele joined Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was an anchor and reporter for the network's nightly local sports news program, SportsNite, covering all sports in the Washington, DC/Baltimore region. Steele was one of Comcast SportsNet's original personalities, joining that network when it launched that year. She served six years as a reporter and anchor at CSN Mid-Atlantic (2001–2007), and she was a beat reporter for the Baltimore Ravens.

In 2007, she joined ESPN. She debuted on March 16, 2007, on the 6:00 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. In an interview with Awful Announcing, she mentioned that she'd actually been offered a job with the network in 2004, but had turned it down as she was then pregnant with her second child.[11]

On July 28, 2013, she drove the pace car for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400. During the pace laps at the beginning of the race, she was bumped in jest by 6-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Beginning in the 2013–14 NBA season, Steele became the host of NBA Countdown on ESPN and ABC, a post she held through 2017.[12]

Steele co-hosted the Miss America 2017 & 2018 pageant on ABC with Chris Harrison.[13] She hosted the Scripps National Spelling Bee from 2010 to 2013. In 2014 she was a guest host several times on The View.[14][15]

She became the noon (ET) SportsCenter co-anchor with Matt Barrie in February 2021. She had anchored the 6 p.m. ET edition of the show for several years before moving to noon. Prior to that she had anchored SportsCenter:AM.[14]

On October 5, 2021, Steele was suspended with pay by ESPN for remarks she made on Jay Cutler's September 29 podcast about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, women who dress in a way she feels is provocative, and Barack Obama calling himself black even though he, like Steele, has a white mother.[16] In conjunction with her suspension, Steele issued an apology: "I know my recent comments created controversy for the company, and I apologize. We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and it's more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully."[17]

Steele filed a lawsuit against ESPN in April 2022, alleging that the network had retaliated against her in the months following the suspension. Steele's suit accused ESPN of taking opportunities away from her and steadily degrading her career, alleging that her free speech rights were being curtailed through ESPN's retaliation against her for comments she had made as a private citizen. The parties settled the lawsuit in August 2023, at which point Steele left the network.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Steele married Jonathan Bailey in 1999. Together, they have three children, two daughters and one son. They divorced in 2019.[20][21][22][23]

In March 2021, Steele put her home in Avon, Connecticut, on the market for $1.6 million,[24] after doing extensive renovations.[3]

Steele was on the board of the Pat Tillman Foundation. In 2019 she was named to the board of the V Foundation for cancer research.[14]


  1. ^ Nerves of Steele Archived July 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine St. Petersburg Times, June 9, 2000
  2. ^ Faigle, Kevin (March 2, 2023). "'Choose a harder right instead of an easier wrong': Retired Col. Gary Steele speaks on being a trailblazer at US Military Academy". Augusta University. Archived from the original on April 1, 2023. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Wollschlager, Mike (May 18, 2018). "ESPN's Sage Steele Renovates an Avon Colonial into a Dream Home". Connecticut Magazine. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  4. ^ People - Front Office Archived August 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Baltimore Ravens
  5. ^ Murphy, Jen (June 2, 2014). "Sage Steele of 'NBA Countdown' Pumps Iron in a Group". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017 – via
  6. ^ Briggeman, Brent (June 4, 2015). "Sage Steele's time in Colorado Springs helped steer her life toward ESPN". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on June 15, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Agness, Scott (February 11, 2011). "ESPN's Sage Steele shares stories and advice with avid IU students". Vigilant Sports. Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Jaffe, Harry (September 2002). "She knows the score". Washingtonian. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Morris, Lena (March 25, 2014). "Steele recounts obstacles in path of becoming host of ESPN's top shows". Indiana University Journalism. Archived from the original on March 24, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  10. ^ "Alumna Sage Steele to speak at Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate commencement". Indiana University Bloomington. April 8, 2015. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  11. ^ Maggs, Joe (October 27, 2015). "After a Lengthy Journey, ESPN NBA Countdown Has Finally Found Its Identity in Sage Steele". Awful Announcing. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "ESPN Gives Up on No-Host Format; Steele to Anchor NBA Countdown — Sports Media Watch". October 22, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "Chris Harrison Will Return for His Eighth Year to Host Miss America 2017". July 11, 2016. Archived from the original on July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c "Sage Steele". ESPN Press Room U.S. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  15. ^ "Behind the Scenes at ABC's 'The View' with 'NBA Countdown' Host Sage Steele". The Walt Disney Company. April 7, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  16. ^ Sage Steele talks ESPN, hating Notre Dame, rude men in media, social media attacks & COVID vaccines, archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved October 8, 2021
  17. ^ Alexander, Brenda (October 5, 2021). "Sage Steele removed from ESPN following comments on Obama, vaccine; former colleague Jemele Hill calls her out". Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  18. ^ Steinberg, Brian (August 15, 2023). "Sage Steele, ESPN Anchor Once Disciplined for Coronavirus Comments, Exits After Settling Lawsuit". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  19. ^ "Judge makes key ruling in Sage Steele's lawsuit vs. ESPN, Disney". October 24, 2022.
  20. ^ "Sage Steele's Blog: No, I'm Not the Nanny". People. May 8, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  21. ^ "Is Sage Steele Divorced? Sage Steele Husband, Family, Net Worth and more - News". August 16, 2023.
  22. ^ "Who is Sage Steele Husband? About Her Children and Divorce". August 16, 2023.
  23. ^ 610
  24. ^ "ESPN Anchor Sage Steele Selling Her $1.6M Connecticut Home". News. March 3, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2021.

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