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ESPN and FS1 Hosts Fight Over Coverage of Black Women After Emmanuel Acho Criticizes Sha’Carri Richardson

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There are a few topics over which sports media pundits get outrageously emotional: Donald Trump, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick, and white guys. Now we can safely add Sha’Carri Richardson to the list.

Richardson, a black woman who lost her spot on the U.S. Olympic Team after testing positive for marijuana back in June, lost out again over the weekend. This time, she finished in last place in a 100 meters event.

In response, Emmanuel Acho of FS1 tweeted, “You can’t call for attention then hang up.” That remark made Clinton Yates of ESPN mad, and Yates then took a personal shot at Acho:

Afraid to sit and miss out, their respective colleagues, Marcellus Wiley of FS1 and Ryan Clark of ESPN, got involved:

Clark and Wiley are grandstanding, trying to capitalize on a social media clash that they didn’t start. However, the larger issue here, uncovered by the back-and-forth between Yates and Acho, runs deeper.

Most media commentators, like Yates, do not tolerate criticism of black women. ESPN pundits and CNN hosts view even mild criticism of a black female individual as harsh criticism of all black women collectively. Most disregard context to focus on the fact that a black woman is receiving some form of negative coverage. Criticizing a woman who happens to have black skin isn’t allowed. So, don’t try it.

Maria Taylor brought this case study to the forefront during her messy negotiations with ESPN this summer. Media members didn’t see her as a toxic talent trying to extort money from her employer using race and leaks. Instead, they saw her as a black woman who was the victim because ESPN wouldn’t pay her $8 million a year. Nothing else mattered but Taylor’s skin color and gender. From the media’s perspective, Taylor’s few detractors were evil sexists and racists.

Many also came to the defense of Simone Biles after she bowed out of team competition during the Olympics last month.

As much as the blue-chip outlets say they are fighting for minorities, they hold people of color back by pressuring them to think alike. They have since targeted Acho because he covers black athletes and white athletes in a similar manner. Deadspin has even published hit pieces on Acho, a black man, for the supposed crime of occasionally criticizing other black people. 

There are a lot of gross unwritten rules in the coverage of black athletes. Notably, that black pundits and black athletes should be on the same team. And if one violates this clause, they are a threat, as Clinton Yates helpfully reminded us.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

21 Comments

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  1. OK, I HAVE heard of Marcus Wiley. Didn’t he play in the NFL? … But I have never heard of ANY of these other people. Do they play in the WNBA? Are they “notorious rappers’?

    But in all fairness, they have never heard of me either. So let’s call it a draw.
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    • Ryan Clark was a safety for the Steelers for years and he has a Super Bowl ring. Ever since he went to ESPN he has gone all in on the woke/racial nonsense. These tweets are a fair example of his analysis, mostly unintelligible

  2. There are a lot of gross unwritten rules in the coverage of black athletes. Notably, that black pundits and black athletes should be on the same team.

    Once again Bobby has proven to have NO UNDERSTANDING about what he is talking about. Actually everyone you mentioned can be just as professional to do their job without bias as you do Bobby. Or are you trying to suggest you also have a WHITE CONSERVATIVE boas when it comes to your articles with the narrative that “white guys are picked on and society has made the white man look weak as opposed to the good old days when white men had statis and power”? See how easy that works? Stay in your lane dude. If there are “unwritten rules by Black professionals in the sports media about “Black Athletes “? You damn sure wouldn’t be the person to either understand or try and whitesplain
    That mighty white of you

  3. I don’t believe anyone would seriously argue the fact that Outkick IS a “right-leaning” Conservative partisan website. That being universally agreed … I appreciate that the poster known as “Ball Don’t Lie” is unfiltered in aggressively posting his contrarian opinions on pretty much every Outkick article.

    I don’t believe I have ever agreed with any opinion he has ever expressed here … but to impede his “right” (?) to post those opinions would make Outkick no better than the multitude of websites that censor / delete “right-leaning” POVs. His posts certainly do not keep me from enjoying this website and this on-line community.
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  4. Despite what you say, it seem Wiley brings the best points to this discussion. “When your people keep it race rather than keep it real, you will end up in last place” is a perfect summation of many issues plaguing our country right now. Good on him for calling it out.

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