During ESPN’s Black History Month coverage on Thursday, the network aired a segment called “Rise Up,” which enraged several viewers who took to Twitter to air their grievances.
As Grammy nominated singer Andra Day sang the song “Rise Up” in the background, ESPN viewers were treated to a visual montage, as Breitbart TV’s Trent Baker reported, of “Rosa Parks, ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ protests, Tamir Rice protests, ‘Black Lives Matter’ marches, pro athletes wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts to games, 1968 Olympics ‘Black Power’ salute, “I Am a Man” protests, as well as other civil rights moments in history.”
Criticism for the controversial segment was palpable.
I'm watching ESPN and all of a sudden I'm a racist fuck. What the hell ESPN. #RISEUP
— Rusty shackleford (@rusty_nnnhhhttt) February 19, 2016
#RiseUp what a joke
— ACE (@PRINGLE_24) February 19, 2016
#riseup for when espn doesn't have enough sports news, they manipulate people by dividing thru race. Clinton should take notes!
— Sean (@sjacquemotte) February 19, 2016
Some viewers took issue specifically with the “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” Michael Brown and Black Lives Matter imagery.
— KV_alumni (@KV_alumni) February 19, 2016
Are you kidding me? A man lost his job because of some kid making up lies #riseup
— Ronnie (@andrewsjock) February 19, 2016
The “Rise Up” segment also covered an incident involving retired tennis super star James Blake, who was misidentified by plain clothes NYPD officers. The arresting officers wrongly targeted Blake, who shared an uncanny likeness with the suspect (a man who was also misidentified by NYPD investigators).
Twitter users watching the ESPN segment felt that the Blake incident was the result of bad police work, not some insidious racial profiling plot gone awry.
Watching #riseup on ESPN2 and the James Blake incident.He looks nearly identical to the suspect. Unfortunate but how's that profiling?
— Mitch Lyons (@mlyons85) February 19, 2016
— Sebastian⚓️ (@SebastianRab) February 19, 2016