Something was bound to happen during a 28-hour marathon. ESPN hosted a continuous preview of Fantasy Football for the second straight year on Aug. 14-15. During one of the network’s attempts to entertain during the marathon, there was a real-life auction skit. Auction fantasy football is a popular method to draft for many players on the internet. In an auction draft, each team is given a budget and select a team based on how much funds are available. As opposed to traditional drafting, another team can outbid your selection in an auction draft.
In the auction skit, with a what appeared to be a cast not featuring one Black person, fantasy players bid on New York Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham responded to the clip in a single word when a fan asked him about it on Twitter.
This 29-second clip gives Black people an eerie feeling. A crowd full of majority non-Blacks auctioning off Black people isn’t the best idea for a skit. Especially in the middle of a week where racial tension has once again come to the forefront of America’s attention after the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company has since apologized for airing the skit.
“Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football,” ESPN said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “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 reactions continued to pour in from other star athletes and fans to activists on social media.
Others defended ESPN in the situation, though.
The world may never find out the motive behind ESPN’s decision to go through with the skit. However, during a 28-hour marathon for the second consecutive year in a political climate like this, a controversy like this was bound to happen.