On Tuesday ESPN – The Worldwide Leader in sports aired a live version of a fantasy football auction, which coincides with not only the start of NFL regular season but also that of fantasy football season. For those that are unfamiliar with fantasy football, a mock draft where you select players for your fictional fantasy football team similar to the NFL, NBA and MLB drafts are not uncommon; in fact, a league that I have participated in the last two years is in the process of scheduling our upcoming draft.
ESPN is also known to host a daily fantasy football show where insiders provide tips on who to draft or drop week to week, so it’s not a stretch to say that ESPN is invested in fantasy football.
But what makes this auction so different, beside the fact that ESPN normally hosts a classic “snake” draft that most football fans use to determine their fantasy rosters, IS the fact that it was an auction, and in a scene that was eerily similar to the movie Get Out, African American players were auctioned off to a group of white men.
Granted African American players weren’t the only players being auctioned, as there were players of other ethnicities bided on as well; but considering what took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA this might not have been the best idea, besides it’s never a good idea to auction off African Americans to a group of white men.
I’m not saying that the African American players should have been treated differently than players of other ethnicities, but you can’t tell me that someone present in the meeting room where this idea was being discussed hadn’t seen Get Out, or said this could potentially look bad.
In a time where African American athletes are being vilified for standing up (or sitting down) to systematic approved racism, an auction where African American players are being exploited and sold to a group of white men subtly sends a message that African American players are nothing more than a commodity – to be sold and they better not step out of line or else…
What do you think? Do you think ESPN was aware of the ramifications? Was ESPN blinded by white privilege? Or was this a simple mistake?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.