BRISTOL, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — ESPN apologized Tuesday after some viewers accused the network of airing a sketch that resembled a slave auction.
In the fantasy football-related sketch Monday night, an auctioneer accepts bids from a largely white group for Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is black.
Many on social media criticized the network.
ESPN released a statement to USA Today’s The Big Lead blog Tuesday saying it did not intend to re-enact a slave auction but understood how some might have had a problem with it.
“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,” the network said. “Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”
Some people felt critics of the sketch were overreacting.
Beckham responded to the controversy with one word on Twitter: “Speechless.”