During ESPN’s 28-hour “Fantasy Football Marathon,” which began Monday, the network aired a questionable skit involving a live auction draft, where in one scene black players were sold to bidders -- which were composed of mostly white males.
The skit garnered a lot of criticism with people pointing out the skit appeared eerily similar to what one would have see during a slave auction.
Soooooo ESPN just did an "auction" sketch 🤔 pic.twitter.com/zvezCItems— Jᴀsᴏɴ (@rjasonscales) August 14, 2017
When asked for his thoughts by retired NFL player Dominique Hamilton, New York Giants player Odell Beckham Jr. replied, “Speechless.”
Speechless. https://t.co/CddZ917y4u— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) August 15, 2017
Um. Did anybody else see the fantasy auction @espn just did? Taaaaaaaad bit racist and insensitive in my book.— Nick Slatkin (@orangebirdpro) August 15, 2017
I'm glad other people noticed the "auction" espn did for fantasy football players... it was literally a scene out of "Get Out"..— Guram Abashidze (@YoungerGeezy10) August 15, 2017
Instead of a typical snake draft, where people will select a player by rounds, an auction draft is based on a budget and bids are taken for certain players. In the skit, the predominantly white audience bids for talented black football players. Many called the scene inappropriate, particularly given the recent race-fueled events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
CNN reported that ESPN released a video of a segment in which New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was up for auction. Brady is white. Some pointed out that white players were also in the segment, and that the skit simply reflected auction drafts that are part of fantasy football.
Fam-The optics aren't good-agreed. But it was replicating Fantasy Football auctions--whites up for bid too.— Kenny Mayne (@Kenny_Mayne) August 15, 2017
We appreciate you. https://t.co/oTVl1pkJku
I'm just now catching up on the ESPN Auction Draft "controversy" I get without any context in looks bad. But that's how Auction Drafts work— Kevin Rasnick (@KevinJRasnick) August 15, 2017
In a statement to USA TODAY, ESPN apologized for the skit, saying, “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.”