ESPN lands in hot water for Fantasy Football skit auctioning off black NFL players

ESPN got into hot water for a Fantasy Football auction it aired Monday night
ESPN got into hot water for a Fantasy Football auction it aired Monday night AP

So, New York Giants star Odell Beckham didn’t take kindly to being “sold” in an NFL auction for $34.

After ESPN aired an online auction for its 28-hours of Fantasy Football marathon, Beckham was asked his response -- a black man being sold to a white man on national TV, just a few days after the incidents in Charlottesville, VA, where a 32-year-old woman was killed and nearly 20 injured after a car rammed into some counter-protesters in town along with a group of white nationalists who led a rally there.

Beckham’s answer was appropriate.

ESPN caught a lot of heat on social media Tuesday for the segments. Auction drafts are common, but seeing one like this, with the auctioneer holding a photo of the black players, attached to popsicle sticks, while selling them to a predominately white crowd was just...startling.

First let’s show you a bit more of what aired.

Here’s some of the reaction, first from outspoken New York Daily News columnist Shaun King

On Tuesday, ESPN made a statement to USA Today, apologizing for the segments.

"Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football,” it read, “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.”