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ESPN tweeted out a clip on Tuesday with the caption “Last year, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s stall at Talladega Superspeedway” to promote an upcoming E:60 special. That, of course, is a lie.
Last year, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's stall at Talladega Superspeedway. The next day, the NASCAR community stood with him in unity.
"I was like, 'Holy s—, it's the whole garage.' … That's when I lost it." pic.twitter.com/Zh5HWumagX
— ESPN (@espn) December 14, 2021
For background, Wallace asserted in the summer of 2020 that someone had put a noose in his garage. Immediately following the accusation, networks like ESPN declared NASCAR and white people everywhere racist.
But as much as ESPN wants you to think Bubba Wallace was the victim of a hate crime victim, he wasn’t. The FBI quickly found that no one had put a “noose” in Wallace’s garage. Instead, it was a rope to help open the garage door and had been in the stall for a long period of time.
ESPN even admitted as much in a June 2020 headline, which says, “FBI says rope had been in Talladega garage since October; Bubba Wallace not victim of hate crime.”
So ESPN lied on Tuesday, hoping its viewers had forgotten the story’s outcome.
The truth is, ESPN has been lying about stories to frame black people as victims and white people as racists for over a year. Here are just a few examples:
— In November, Jalen Rose announced on NBA Countdown that in 2020, the police had shot and killed an innocent man, Jacob Blake. Jacob Blake is not dead and he isn’t innocent. The police shot Blake after a woman whom Blake had sexually assaulted called the police on him. When police arrived, Blake had a knife in his possession and refused to drop it, so they shot him.
— In April, ESPN’s Mark Jones interrupted a live NBA game to say the police shot Blake while unarmed, even though Blake has admitted he had a knife.
— Three weeks later, Adrian Wojnarowski spread this same lie about Blake in a column that ESPN edited, posted, and promoted on its home page.
— Mark Jones tweeted that police are more likely to murder black people than protect them.
— Richard Jefferson said Kyle Rittenhouse crossed state lines with his AR-15.
— Even daily segments make absurd claims, such as the NFL holds back black people, even though roughly 70% of NFL players are black.
ESPN has refused to comment on each of these matters.
Why does this keep happening? Why isn’t anyone at ESPN stopping the spread of all these lies about highly-charged racial topics? Sadly, the answer is all too clear.
ESPN has created a workplace that incentivizes its employees to find examples of white racists and black victims. And because the demand for anti-black racism so clearly exceeds the supply, ESPN hosts, producers, and writers have had to make desperate reaches and/or skip the fact-checking process to support their arguments.
Keep in mind, several ESPN editors and producers knew that the network was reporting lies and did nothing about it.
Not a single network, in sports or news, is more irresponsible than ESPN is right now. Its failures are egregious and inexcusable, considering how tense the country is now and how few people actually know the truth.
George Floyd’s death scared ESPN’s brass so badly that it has decided to establish a network culture that is not only racist — see its programming decisions — but that intentionally reports lies.
The police didn’t murder Jacob Blake, Blake was not unarmed, Kyle Rittenhouse did not cross state lines, the NFL is not refusing to pay black people, and no one put a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage — but you’d never know it if you tuned in only to ESPN.