ESPN filled some air time during their 24-hour fantasy football marathon with a very uncomfortable live fantasy auction draft and many people were unhappy about it. Auction drafts are a staple in fantasy football, wherein members of a league bid on players with fake currency in order to build a team. Rather than just using a snake draft format with players taken best available, first come first serve, a player’s “value” is set by the league members themselves. If you want Antonio Brown, you better pay up for him.
But fantasy sports work because they are imaginary, and you’re only acquiring the statistical output of said players and not the humans themselves. Putting that on a stage and letting it happen live, like a real auction of human beings, is actually pretty uncomfortable and plenty of people were upset about the segment online, saying it looked like a slave auction.
ESPN gave a statement to USA Today explaining the segment but apologizing for what many felt was offensive.
“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. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize,” ESPN said.
The rush to make fantasy football content for TV can lead to some awkward situations like this because when you think about it fantasy football is weird.
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Article Courtesy of USA Today and Uproxx
Picture Courtesy of Mike Windle, Getty Images, and Uproxx
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