ESPN apologizes for player ‘auction’ during fantasy football marathon

ESPN launched a 28-hour programming marathon to promote fantasy football Monday, and it wasn’t long before a related segment caught some people’s attention. Playing off the “auction” format of selecting fantasy teams, the network interspersed its coverage with a more elaborate version, in which a fast-talking auctioneer got the bidding going on a number of well-known NFL players.

A Twitter user uploaded a clip of Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. being “sold” at the auction, and given the racial dynamics, with the auctioneer, the winning bidder and almost everyone else in the scene being white, many responded online with reactions ranging from eye rolls to outrage. Even Beckham declared himself “speechless” at the scene.

Some claimed that the clip, and others like it showing black players being auctioned off, were taken out of context and that white players were put up for auction as well. Others noted that the auction format dramatized by ESPN is widely used in fantasy leagues and is a way to create a fairer, more competitive process of allocating players to a league’s teams, as opposed to the more standard “snake” drafts, in which participants take turns selecting players in a preset

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