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ESPN has issued an apology for a recent fantasy football segment that some criticized for resembling a slave auction.
During ESPN2’s Fantasy Sports Marathon, auctioneer Alan Wheeler held up faces of players and asked for bids. Bidding on players in fantasy football leagues is common, but it was the way in which the auction took place that bothered some viewers, including NBA star Kevin Durant, who tweeted: “Bum ass ESPN running out of ideas….”
While there were also white players auctioned off in the segment, some on social media noted the moment was eerily reminiscent of the Jordan Peele suspense film Get Out.
“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,” ESPN said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
The auction segment occurred after a weekend of deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., where a white nationalist rally clashed with protesters. Numerous celebrities and professional athletes spoke out against the event and those who supported it and its ideals.
Soooooo ESPN just did an “auction” sketch pic.twitter.com/zvezCItems
— J?s?? (@rjasonscales) August 14, 2017
Bum ass espn running out of ideas…. pic.twitter.com/4QVTtncN6R
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 16, 2017
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