ESPN Culture Is To Blame For Kendrick Perkins' Disparaging Of White Players On A Regular Basis

In the NBA, Kendrick Perkins was a leader. He was courageous. He brought toughness to the court.

In media, Perkins is a follower. He's a coward. He parrots the talking point of his contemporaries.

Kendrick Perkins has proven himself no different than most former athletes who now reside inside the confines of ESPN.

He's cringingly predictable, uninformed, and hardly an intellectual. Such limitations call for a reliance on the race card, an at-the-ready tool for the less talented.

This week, Perkins diminished Nuggets center Nikola Jokic's quest for a third straight NBA MVP.

Oddsmakers say Jokic is again the favorite. Of course, he is. Denver holds the top record in the Western Conference. Jokic is averaging a triple-double from the center position. He has been consistently the best player on the court this season.

But according to Perkins, there are ulterior motives propelling Jokic to MVP status. His whiteness.

“When it comes down to guys winning MVPs since 1990, it’s only three guys that won the MVP that wasn’t top 10 in scoring. Do you know who those three guys were? Steve Nash, Jokic, and Dirk Nowitzki. What do those guys have in common? I’ll let it sit there and marinate; you think about it," Perkins asked on ESPN.

Perkins actually thinks the NBA -- the NBA, of all brands -- favors white people.

He doubled down on his race bait during an exchange with Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb. As he did in a Twitter video, one in which he quickly deleted.

Perk hoped to see Twitter configure in support of his "question." But instead, even the NBA media ridiculed him for using his platform to besmirch players on the basis of their skin color:

You know your race-bait failed when even the sports media opposes.

As multiple social media users have noted, Perkins had to cherrypick a timeline to execute his smear on Jokic. He cites "since 1990" as his reference point. That was done to exclude Magic Johnson from the discussion.

Magic also won MVPs without finishing top 10 in scoring. But Magic is black. Thereby including him would have derailed Perkins's minimizing of each white MVP.

Frank Isola, a credible NBA reporter, also noted that Jokic won the award last season while finishing fifth in total points. Jokic finished third in points the year before, the season in which he won his first MVP.

If one is to base an argument around anecdotes, they ought to at least do so accurately.

Kendrick Perkins' sole mission as a broadcaster is to fit in. For his peers to accept him. Kendrick The Broadcaster is the antithesis of Kendrick The Player.

As a broadcaster, he's uninformed, loose with the truth, and over his skies. He sounds unqualified to discuss topics at a high level.

He's also privileged. If he had made similar remarks about, say, black NFL MVPs as a white man, ESPN would have fired him before the end of the segment.

Perkins benefits from the culture at ESPN, the catalyst for his disparaging of the accomplishments of white players.

ESPN underwent a racialization following the death of George Floyd in 2020. Race has plagued the decision-making at the network since. Perkins is a symptom.

Skin color now determines success, programming decisions, contract leverage (Maria Taylor), and the tone of the conversation.

The network created a culture that openly accepts, and rewards, racism toward white players. ESPN gave Mark Jones a contract extension after spewing hate toward white police officers, white politicians, and white athletes. ESPN deploys Mark Jones to call NBA games with Jokic and Luka Donic, two players he trolls on Twitter (for obvious reasons).

ESPN doubled down on its investment in Bomani Jones after declaring white people "the problem" in sports.

Stephen A. Smith, the biggest star on the network, turned "First Take" into a safe haven for black personalities to accuse white people of racism while not allowing said white people to respond. See a recent segment with Ryan Clark for proof. It was character assassination at its peak.

See, Xs-and-Os analysts like Tim Legler and Ron Jaworski no longer succeed at ESPN. The brand has pivoted toward the likes of Clark, Bart Scott, JJ Redick, and Domonique Foxworth -- former players who focus as often on the skin colors of current athletes as their games. Notably, Foxworth said on air that he roots for white QBs to fail because their fans support the American flag.

Perkins is no different than Robert Griffin III, a former backup QB turned struggling analyst. Griffin and Perkins recently joined ESPN and seek to prove they are as outraged about the make-believe racisms of the NFL and NBA as their more accomplished counterparts.

Kendrick Perkins diminished white MVPs as receipts of white privilege in his audition. Perhaps the network will reward him for the courage of dismissing that minority group of NBA players.

Perkins comes across as territorial about the NBA, unaccepting of the inclusion of white players in an overwhelmingly black league.

Does that make him a racist?

We can't say for certain. He's merely adapting to the culture at ESPN. 

Written by
Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.