ESPN aired a segment during fantasy football marathon which depicted a fantasy football auction. Auction drafts are a popular part of fantasy football, but this one was different!
The problem? The segment drew criticism on Facebook and Twitter for resembling a slave auction.
During the segment, ESPN had an auctioneer putting mostly-black football players up for bid. The auctioneer then had people in the mostly-white crowd bidding on them.
You can view the video, and see examples of the fierce criticism on Twitter below:
Soooooo ESPN just did an “auction” sketch pic.twitter.com/zvezCItems
— Jᴀsᴏɴ (@rjasonscales) August 14, 2017
They hosted a slave auction on ESPN and mascaraed it as a NFL draft
— David (@DWash300) August 15, 2017
ESPN sold Odell on an auction block to a crowd of White people. In 2017.
— DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) August 15, 2017
ESPN issued a formal apology, stating:
“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”