Cari Champion and Jemele Hill are having a good time on their new show Cari & Jemele: Stick to Sports, which airs weekly on Vice TV. But while they are really close friends, that wasn't the case during Champion's early days at ESPN. The duo was guests on the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk and revealed people were trying to have them be rivals.
"My agent is in my ear, and he's like 'Look, just stay away from Jemele. She's supposed to get this job," Champion said. "And I was like 'you're right.' I'm just listening to all this stuff." In the intro to Red Table Talk, host Jada Pinkett-Smith reveals that Champion and Hill were looking to host ESPN's First Take. Champion got the job, but Hill was determined to be friends with her.
"[Hill] truly reached out to me and was like 'we're going to go and have dinner," Champion said, who admitted she didn't have any friends during her time at ESPN. "I unwillingly went." Champion then revealed that Hill told her what's going on behind the scenes and what her co-workers think of her.
"I was an O.G. in the system," Hill stated. "I'm trying to break her in... I now understand why she totally questioned my motives. Because sometimes you get in that position, and there there's somebody else in another department telling you 'oh, do this,' they might be plotting on the low." Champion admitted to "having a rough couple of years," but said Hill was always there for her.
"I have just seen too many situations, especially at ESPN, where people really started battling and hating each other, and it turned out it was really over nothing," Hill said. "As Black women, we can't afford to do that. As it is, it's hard enough, once to get to that position, we're bringing a whole bunch of battles with us."
Hill had Champion's back during her struggles at ESPN. And when Hill shared a viral tweet that called out Donald Trump, Champion was one of the few that had Hill's back. "No one had her back," Champion stated. "I can count on my hands how many people had her back within the system." Champion showed her support for Hill on Twitter because "the lack of support of Black women was so crystal clear at the moment."