ESPN Criticized for Fantasy Football Auction That Resembled Slave Auction

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Published on:
Aug/15/2017

Auction drafts in fantasy football may be nothing new, but as USA Today reported Tuesday, ESPN2 was coming under some significant flack for its approach to auctioning players as part of its Fantasy Sports Marathon Monday night.  Many drew comparisons to slave auctions. 

From USA Today:

While white players -- like New England quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski -- were part of the draft, the footage of an auctioneer "selling" New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. led to some on Twitter to voice their outrage.

Odell Beckham Jr is Black and the auction comes following a white supremacy gathering in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend that turned violent and left one woman dead.  It didn’t help matters that most of those in the audience doing the bidding happened to be white men.

Beckham Jr. responded to the draft.

“Speechless,” he tweeted Tuesday.

ESPN responded with this statement: "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.”

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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