ESPN apologizes for fantasy football auction amid backlash

Ruben Hill
August 16, 2017

Obviously, ESPN means no harm here - they made a decision to cover one type of fantasy football draft in an interesting format to get people excited for the 2017 season. There was an outcry on social media that the segment was similar to a slave auction.

The segment, which aired Monday night on ESPN2, featured a live auctioneer who "sold" top football players to the highest bidder for fantasy football purposes. Sort of how you would imagine an outdoor auction to be, a group of all-white bidders sat in rows of neatly-lined chairs.

"Soooooo ESPN just did an "auction" sketch", a man named Jason wrote on Twitter. In the second hour of the program, ESPN showed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a white player, being auctioned off, before later showing auction attendees bidding on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

ESPN apologized Tuesday after some viewers accused the network of airing a sketch that resembled a slave auction. Many critics quickly called out the racist implications of the sketch, connecting the video to a modern-day version of slavery.

On Tuesday, ESPN issued an apology, saying in a statement. "Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize", ESPN said in a statement.

When asked for his thoughts by retired National Football League player Dominique Hamilton, New York Giants player Odell Beckham Jr. replied, "Speechless".

ESPN may want to run their ideas by a couple of people in the brainstorm room next time.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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