Bad Calls of 2017 Sports: We’re All White Supremacists Now!

Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the most outrageous sports quotes of 2017.

As America transitioned from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration nearly a year ago, conservatives found -- much to our surprise -- that we are racists! We are as stunned now as we were in 2009 when, after Obama's inauguration, a Newsweek headline declared, "We're all socialists now." Throughout 2017, liberal sports media figures informed us time and time again that we're all white supremacists now! Following are some of the most outrageous quotes by these writers, broadcasters and athletes.

Tweets by ESPN Sports Center anchor Jemele Hill, photographed above, which prompted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to call for her firing:


Matthew Allen, a music journalist and television producer, writing on The Root blog:

With the recent events involving Kaepernick, the U.S. President, the NFL at large and its fans, it’s time to have a real examination of how jersey burning is drawn from the same spirit that led whites to hunt, hang, burn and murder black people for centuries.

As professional sports integrated African Americans, an opportunity to reintroduce tactics of slave breeding and labor by white owners was carried out via sports drafts, combines and deceptively disproportionate salaries; yes, these athletes make millions, but it’s peanuts compared to the hundreds of billions the owners get. Think of it as modern day sharecropping.

Lonnae O’Neal, The Undefeated, on NFL end zone dances and racism:

White fear of the black male body is part of the subtext of the rage over the NFL protests (and actually any form of black protest). That fear, stemming from perceptions of black lawlessness and criminality, can also be understood as a projection of white rage.

In another political moment, dance is safe and entertaining — something white folks have historically enjoyed watching happy blacks do. In turn, that sight line evokes minstrel show dancing and “cooning” for white audiences.

Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks' player, on Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones saying any of his players refusing to stand for the national anthem would be benched:

I just think it’s inconsiderate of a person, being a human being. I just thought it reminded me of the Dred Scott case. ‘You’re property, so you don’t have the ability to be a person first.’ And I think that in this generation, I think that sends the wrong message to young kids and young people all across the world that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being, he sees you as a piece of property.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Daniel Rapaport, Sports Illustrated, criticizing an ESPN sports fantasy auction as racist:

The segment was aired in the wake of the gathering of multiple white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va. ... Auction drafts are somewhat common in fantasy sports. In auction leagues, each team is given the opportunity to bid on a player, with the highest bidder securing the player's services. That in itself could present ethical concerns, and yes, white players were 'sold' too. But ESPN's choice to bring on an auctioneer to sell black men is remarkably terrible optics and betrays a lack of diversity in whatever group approved the segment.

Jemele Hill, ESPN:

(Complaints of liberal bias at ESPN are) really racist sentiment in disguise.

Dave Zirin, The Nation sports editor, analyzing 2017, the year of white racism:

Following an old script, right-wing racist minions spent this year trying to make athlete activists pay a price for being conscious.

Open, ugly racism aimed at athletes who recognize that, in historical moments such as this one, they needed to do more than just shut up and play.

(B)lack athletes—and white supporters of those athletes—are, as in the past, threatened, policed, slandered, and attacked for daring to use their platforms to say something about the world. Donald Trump, Fox News, and their neo-Nazi-infused right-wing echo chamber has spent a year frothing with rabid barbarism in order to shut these athletes down.

Trump and his dwindling, aging army go after black athletes for the same reason they defended Confederate monuments and supported Roy Moore: because it’s in their blood.

Jonathan Walton, Harvard professor of divinity, quoted by William C. Rhoden, The Undefeated:

That’s the history of America. My freedom is dependent upon somebody else’s enslavement; my freedom is based on somebody else being terrorized; my safety is dependent on somebody else being stopped and frisked, somebody else being patrolled by police constantly.

Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American quoted by Dave Zirin in The Nation:

The owner of the Washington NFL franchise is such a hypocrite, pretending to take a knee with players regarding racism, while requiring his employees to commit acts of racism, stereotyping, and cultural appropriation against Native Peoples. The idea of him ‘hosting’ a Thanksgiving game is quite fitting, actually. It celebrates what the name, imagery, and behaviors associated with the team he owns also celebrate in history—a time when European and then American men skinned Native men, women, and children and produced them as ‘proof of Indian kill’ in order to collect bounties issued first by colonies and companies and then by states and territories.


Please support MRC Culture today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]


Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

Racism Sports Media Sports