Friday, ESPN “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman responded to free agent safety Eric Reid saying NFL owners have shied away from signing him (two days into free agency) and former teammate Colin Kaepernick due to their National Anthem protests by comparing it to Southern business owners refusing to serve black people.
“Owners were losing ratings, they were losing revenue, it was affecting their bottom line. They were not the ones being protested against, and what they’re saying is, ‘Excuse me, we are not going to be about the business of alienating the fan base out there who impact our bottom line because of this any longer,’ fellow host Stephen A. Smith argued. “It’s not surprising, and you can’t blame them for taking that position.”
Kellerman replied, “Yes, you can. And I do. And I don’t think it’s OK. And those same arguments, Stephen A., were once used by private business owners in the South who refused to serve African-Americans. ‘It’s my business. I live in a community where that will be frowned upon …'”
“That’s a horrible comparison, but go ahead,” Smith interrupted.
Kellerman responded, “I think it’s apt.”
“No, it’s not even close,” Smith said.
Kellerman continued with the comparison, saying the reason that none of the NFL owners are black is “because of the very same systemic oppression” that started with slavery in the United States.
“Those same arguments were used,” stated Kellerman. “I don’t think they were good then. I don’t think it’s good now, particularly when you mentioned out of 32 owners in the NFL, zero are African-American. And the reason zero are African-American is because of the very same systemic oppression starting with this country’s original sin — the same systemic oppression that Eric Reid states he is protesting.”
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