ESPN Dedicates Entire Day To Applaud Joe Biden For Trading ‘The Merchant Of Death’ For Brittney Griner

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This will come as no surprise, but ESPN is very thankful to President Joe Biden for trading convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout — nicknamed “The Merchant of Death” — for WNBA player, Brittney Griner.

ESPN spent the majority of their day praising the move. There was no discussion regarding what it says about the country that we’re willing to trade someone convicted of conspiracy to kill American citizens for a basketball player.

President Joe Biden meets with Brittney Griner wife after swapping The Merchant of Death for the WNBA player.
President Joe Biden and Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, are all smiles that a man who conspired to kill American citizens is now free because it means Brittney Griner can go back to playing basketball. (Getty Images)

It started with Stephen A. Smith on First Take. Stephen A. was more subdued than we’re used to seeing and at least he acknowledged that Griner was freed while US Marine Paul Whelan remains in Russian custody.

“What it comes down to is she’s home … The Biden administration is to be applauded in all of this because they put forth their due diligence.”

He did not elaborate on “due diligence” in trading a convicted arms dealer for a basketball player.

ESPN then paraded guest after guest after guest, all of whom — you guessed it — are on the “This is a great deal for America!” train.

There was South Carolina women’s basketball coach, Dawn Staley. Staley, you might recall, cancelled one of her team’s basketball games over a false accusation of racism. She then defended it by saying she did “personal research.” We’re sure she did plenty of research on Viktor Bout, too.

ESPN continued to cheerlead the entire day for President Biden’s trade of Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout

They probably could have stopped there, but instead they dedicated an entire hour later in the day. Normally, they apparently air a show called “NBA Today.”

I say apparently because I’ve never watched it and did not know it existed. Based on ratings, no one else did either.

Not only did they dedicate the entire show to Griner, but Chiney Ogwumike credited the WNBA for making it happen. ESPN posted that video on Twitter, but later deleted it for some reason.

But the Internet doesn’t forget.

So, America is racist because the country doesn’t care about black women, according to Chiney. But we just traded a man convicted of plotting to kill American citizens for a black woman who plays basketball for a living. Interesting argument.

It wouldn’t be a day at ESPN without a claim of racism, so they can consider that box checked.

The show continued and they brought on woman after woman connected with the WNBA to congratulate President Biden. And, for a network who never stops talking about diversity, they didn’t allow a very diverse panel to discuss the situation.

Gotta love ESPN PR patting itself on the back for spending an entire day cheering on the worst trade in American history. Not since the Louisiana Purchase has the United States been involved in such a lopsided deal.

At least we got the better of that one.

Once again, ESPN appears completely tone deaf. The idea that most American sports fans — who ESPN claims to “serve anytime, anywhere” — are happy about this trade shows a total lack of awareness.

A man, Viktor Bout, who was convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and providing aid to a terrorist organization is now free so Brittney Griner can go back to playing basketball.

“Thank you President Biden. America is now a safer place because of you,” ESPN, probably.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.


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  1. When I was at the gym today, some Four Letter Network show came on and the discussion centered around the owner of the Redskins being a putz, an evil putz.

    The panel included only women as if women were the only gender capable of discussing when a male, a cis-male, behaves badly.

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