ESPN has publicly apologized in the wake of more than a week of claims by analyst Kendrick Perkins that the voters who award the NBA’s MVP are racist because they are primarily white.
At the outset of Wednesday’s broadcast of First Take, co-host Molly Qerim addressed the mounting controversy that kicked off more than a week earlier when Perkins began hinting that Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was winning multiple MVP awards because he is a white player and the MVP voters are also white.
Qerim, though, started the program by saying that Perkins’ claims are untrue, Fox News reported.
“I want to correct something here from yesterday’s show,” Qerim stated. “When Kendrick Perkins said 80% of NBA voters for the MVP award are white, the NBA publicly announces the voters each year, and after review, it is clear the panel is much more diverse than what was portrayed by Kendrick Perkins, and we wanted to make sure we corrected that today.”
In fact, Perkins himself is one of the 100 MVP voters.
Perkins’ accusations came to a head this week when fellow analyst and former NBA player JJ Redick took a shot at Perkins’ constant claims of racism in the MVP process.
Perkins and Reddick had gone back and forth over the issue for several days, though neither had been on the same show until Tuesday’s broadcast. Riddick took the issue head on.
“Stephen A. (Smith), I mean no offense to you. And I mean no offense to ‘First Take’ because I think this show is extremely valuable,” he said. “It is an honor to be on this desk every day. It really is. But what we just witnessed is the problem with this show. Where we create narratives that do not exist in reality. The implication that you are implying – that the white voters that vote on NBA (awards) are racist, that they favor white people. You just said that.
“That’s exactly what you implied, Kendrick Perkins,” Redick added.
For his part, Perkins began screaming at Riddick, saying, “I did not,” over and over again, trying to deny he was attempting to make the MVP voting a case of racism.
JJ Redick condemns First Take and pushes back on Kendrick Perkins alleging NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players: pic.twitter.com/7pOMmGW4AH
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 7, 2023
Later Perkins claimed that he wanted to thank Reddick for the debate because it needed to be had. He also claimed that it was something “a lot of former African American players have been feeling for decades.”
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