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People Furious When They Realize What ESPN Did On Live TV

ESPN viewers were recently shocked and outraged when they saw what the network deemed appropriate to air.

New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. has been left dumbstruck after popular sporting network ESPN aired a fantasy football segment that seemed to represent a slave auction. Mr. Beckham, whose face was stuck onto a stick and sold to the highest bidder, was astounded at the blatant insensitivity and racism from the network. Social media users were also left horrified, with many online commenters still reeling from the horrific events at the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

After ESPN aired the live football fantasy segment, which featured selling off players to the highest bidder, a number of NFL players were quick to express their outrage, labelling the auction as “racist.” After Dominique Hamilton, a former teammate of Mr. Beckham, forwarded the segment to Mr. Beckham on Twitter, the outrage from the public began to show. “What’s sup with this racist sketch?” he wrote, linking the live action video of the event to the post. Mr. Beckham almost instantly replied, admitting he was stunned by the controversial and insensitive skit.

The auction, primarily comprised of black players being sold to a crowd of white people, had social media users divided, with one shocked viewer tweeting, “ESPN sold Odell on an auction block of White people. In 2017.” Another individual countered the statement, adding, “has anyone played fantasy football? They have an auction draft; ESPN just did a live version of that. NOT EVERYTHING IS RACIST.” Mr. Beckham was sold for a mere $34 to a white man referred to by auctioneers as ‘Shiny Top’. The auction segment, which only lasted around 30 seconds, also included Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

The horrors of racism are particularly fresh in the minds of Americans after the violent white supremacy protests in Charlottesville left one woman dead and multiple people injured. In light of these events, it should have been obvious to ESPN that this segment would strike a nerve. ESPN has since released an apology for the segment, stating that “auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football, and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players.” An ESPN spokesperson went on to say that “without context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”

Fantasy football is based on the premise that fans have the opportunity to draft their favorite players before every season. Drafting, often completed in an auction style, allows fans to use a fixed amount of ‘money’ to bid on players they wish to have on their team.

While ESPN was quick to correct their mistake, the segment has many wondering how it was ever allowed to air in the first place. "Certainly, a situation like this calls into question whether ESPN has enough people in leadership positions who would instinctively understand and make note of the potential reaction to this segment,” assistant professor of sports studies at Mississippi State University, Matthew Zimmerman, noted.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Twitter

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