Former ESPN Host Says Her Joe Biden Interview Was ‘Scripted’ By Network Execs: ‘Told Not To Deviate’

Sage Steele speaks onstage during The Players Tailgate Hosted By Bobby Flay and presented by Bullseye Event Group for Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:34 PM – Wednesday, April 3, 2023

Sage Steele, a former ESPN host, disclosed that network officials “scripted” her 2021 interview with President Joe Biden.


Steele described the pre-recorded interview as “structured” in an interview with Fox News Digital. In fact, she claims that her ESPN supervisors even gave her a “script” to follow, and instructed her not to deviate from any question listed in order.

“That was an interesting experience in its own right because it was so structured,” Steele said. “And I was told, ‘You will say every word that we write out, you will not deviate from the script and go.’” 

In the March 2021 interview, Steele grilled Biden on a number of pre-planned topics, including sports leagues’ efforts to resume business as usual in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine reluctance among athletes. When Biden backed the MLB’s decision to boycott Atlanta’s All-Star game in response to Georgia’s election reform bill being passed, her interview garnered major media attention.

“But everything Steele said to the president ultimately came from ESPN‘s c-suite,” Fox News reported.

“To the word. Every single question was scripted, gone over dozens of times by many editors and executives. Absolutely. I was on script and was told not to deviate,” Steele said. “It was very much ‘This is what you will ask. This is how you will say it. No follow-ups, no follow-ups. Next.’ … This went up to the fourth floor, as we said, where all the bosses, the top executives, the decision makers are, the president of our company, the CEO, where they all worked.”

However, Steele admitted that she was unsure if ESPN had submitted the interview questions to the White House beforehand.

Steele, who debuted her new podcast, “The Sage Steele Show,” last week, described her brief encounter with the current president as “heartbreaking,” alluding to his mental capacity.

“I think it’s really heartbreaking that the people who love Joe Biden and say they truly care about him have allowed it to get to this point,” Steele stated. “So I’m not even looking at this from a political angle or my beliefs in anything. This is the human side of it. And when someone is struggling, we allow them to continue to be in the spotlight and put them out there in the first place when they knew there were issues? Of course, they had to know. So it’s a humanity thing with me where I don’t care where anyone stands and what they vote for or who they believe in. Do you really care about that person? As a father, as a husband, as an everything.”

Previously, Steele had already described how Biden “trailed off” in their pre-tape conversation.

“It was satellite, it wasn’t in person. We’re having a technical issue. And so I had to, like, BS. I had to chitchat waiting for us to start rolling,” Steele said to podcast host Bill Maher. “Well, what he started to do, of course he has someone next to him, and they keep a black, like, curtain over the lens of the camera, so you can’t see him until the last second, but you can hear, and we’re chitchatting… So I can hear him, and he goes, ‘What is this for?’… And he’s, like, ‘Who am I talking to? Wait—what’s her name?’”

“This is like a ‘Naked Gun’ movie,” Maher responded. 

“I was going, ‘Oh, my God!’” Steele exclaimed. “And then he said, ‘SportsCenter. ESPN.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, ok.’ And so I said, you know, what do you say? ‘Hi, Mr. President. Nice to meet you.’ And so I’m trying just to fill time. And he said, ‘You know, I used to play football’… And so he started to tell football stories of his greatness. And again, I can’t see him. You can see the curtain… He goes, ‘And I have the best hands.’ What do you say to that?”

Steele continued, “And then I said, ‘Oh, so you were a receiver.’ And he started to explain it. And here’s the saddest thing — his voice just trailed off. He said, ‘I was good,’ and then he went silent, and he goes, ‘Uhh… never mind.’”

After Steele’s ESPN lawsuit settled, in which she claimed that the network had infringed upon her right to free speech and expression, she departed the sports media company in August of last year. Since then, Steele has become a member of Maher’s Club Random Studios, where her podcast is being produced.

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