Odell Beckham ‘Speechless’ Over ESPN’s ‘Racist’ Live Fantasy Draft Segment
Critics on social media argued that it mimicked slave auction.
In the last week, ESPN2 has been blanketed in almost nonstop fantasy football coverage. But executives probably should have punted on a live draft segment for its Fantasy Sports Marathon on Monday night that is being decried by many critics as “racist.”
The live auction format, which featured a white auctioneer running through dollar-bids for black players was considered evocative of a slave auction on social media.
One user tweeted a video of the segment, with New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. on the block, his head on a placard, up for bid for an audience made up predominantly of white men.
Soooooo ESPN just did an “auction” sketch ? pic.twitter.com/zvezCItems
— Jᴀsᴏɴ (@rjasonscales) August 14, 2017
Some Twitter users, including NBA star Kevin Durant, were quick to take offense to the segment.
ESPN sold Odell on an auction block to a crowd of White people. In 2017.
— DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) August 15, 2017
They hosted a slave auction on ESPN and mascaraed it as a NFL draft
— David (@DWash300) August 15, 2017
Bum ass espn running out of ideas…. pic.twitter.com/4QVTtncN6R
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 16, 2017
How did Odell Beckham Jr. feel about it? He left a one-word response: “Speechless.”
— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) August 15, 2017
USA Today Sports posted an apologetic statement from ESPN on the segment. “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. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize,” the statement read.
The segment has also been criticized for falling so close to the violent protest by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left three dead and a number injured.
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