A new ESPN sketch has come under fire today for its similarities to a slave auction.
Ahead of the start of the new NFL season, ESPN showcased a 28-hour fantasy football marathon which included several chats about current events in the American football world.
However, the 28-hour marathon also included a controversial sketch which showed mostly white men bidding for black NFL players which was interpreted by many spectators as racist.
Some viewers took to Twitter to highlight their disgust at the segment’s resemblance to a slave auction.
“They hosted a slave auction on ESPN and mascaraded it as a NFL draft” one Twitter user wrote.
Following the backlash, ESPN released a statement apologising for the sketch’s “offensive” scenes.
“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,” ESPN said in a statement to USA Today.
“Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologise.”
The controversial sketch comes just days after white supremacists and counter-protestors clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia.