Former ESPN star Sage Steele sues talent agency over handling of COVID vaccine dispute: report

Sage Steele, who spent more than a decade and a half at ESPN, is suing the talent and sports agency that represented her. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Steele was not pleased with the way her representatives advocated on her behalf during her dispute with ESPN. 

She filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming Creative Artist Agency (CAA) breached its fiduciary duty, according to the report.

Steele previously sued her former employer after she claimed ESPN suspended her in retaliation for remarks she made related to Disney’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate during a podcast appearance. Disney is ESPN’s parent company. 

Sage Steele in Oakland

ESPN anchor Sage Steele talks on set during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors June 7, 2019, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (Rey Josue II/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is, um, sick,” Steele said in September 2021 when she was a guest on NFL quarterback Jay Cutler’s “Uncut” podcast. 

“And it’s scary to me in many ways. But I have a job, a job that I love, and, frankly, a job that I need. But, again, I love it. I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney, a global company … but it was actually emotional.”


Shortly after reaching a settlement with ESPN, Sage announced her exit from the company after 16 years.

Steele decided to leave what she described as her “dream job” in hopes she could exercise her “First Amendment rights more freely.”

Sage Steele in 2018

TV personality Sage Steele during a panel discussion at SXSW March 9, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Cisco Systems, Inc.)

Matthew Kramer, CAA’s co-head of sports media, is reportedly at the center of Steele’s latest lawsuit. Steele claimed Kramer neglected to demand to make it expressly clear that she would not have to apologize for criticizing Disney’s vaccination policy. The suit also alleges Steele was misled to believe a high-ranking member in CAA’s legal department reviewed her contract as it related to the vaccine mandate. 

According to the lawsuit, a copy of Steele’s contract was sent to a junior attorney for review.

Sage Steele in 2022

Sage Steele speaks onstage during the Players Tailgate by Bullseye Event Group Feb. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group)

The complaint also suggested CAA had a conflict of interest. The agency also represents prominent ESPN personalities Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski. Schefter, a senior NFL Insider, and Wojnarowski, a senior NBA Insider, both landed contract extensions in 2022.

The lawsuit also mentions several other ESPN employees, including executives the agency represents.

Fox News Digital contacted CAA, but a request for comment was not immediately returned.

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