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ESPN Apologizes After Twitter Users Berate Network for Fantasy Football Auction

ESPN noted auction drafts are part of fantasy football in its apology. (ESPN 2 screenshot)

As if the NFL didn’t have enough similarities to slavery, ESPN honchos seemed to think it would be appropriate to host an auction during their fantasy football marathon. It wasn’t, and they have since apologized.

“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,” the network said in a statement to The Washington Post. Tuesday, Aug. 15. “Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”

The controversy unfolded after a Twitter user named Jason posted about the segment Monday, which aired as part of a 28-hour fantasy football programming block.

A white auctioneer sold white athletes like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady along with Black stars like New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was “sold” to a white man for $34. Meanwhile, many online pointed out the problem with such a sketch. The NFL has been criticized as a kind of modern-day slavery since it is comprised of 78 percent Black players toughing it out on the gridiron as majority white owners look on.

Sports stars including Beckham, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Rams defensive end Dominique Easley also weighed in.

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