ESPN gripping for advertiser dollars doesn’t realize that censuring an employee for speaking the truth only further alienates the majority of its viewers.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

ESPN, the sports delivery network that has bet everything on white middle managers who are doing their best to destroy the world for their children one stolen PowerPoint presentation at a time, rocking Haggar slacks, phone clips on their belts, spending weekends driving around in a 2009 Acura SUV with the stuck front seat, loading up on prescription meds and seemingly locked in a constant and frenetic search for a cheaper/better disposable razor—is doubling down on their hypothesis that such a heartless, untethered mass of mostly miserable suburban men will outlast the roaches.

These guys also represent the coveted cross-section of the network’s key advertiser base which is the only thing that could plausibly save the network from its disastrous long-term deals with the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, PGA and MLS that look simply untenable in the era of streaming and have already resulted in several rounds of on-air talent layoffs.

The latest incident in question that has further pushed the network to the brink of stuff-that-no-longer-exists-that-your-grandad-tells-you-about oblivion is SportsCenter host Jemele Hill Monday saying what everyone north of the Mason-Dixon line (and most to the south, west and east as well) already knows, that Donald Trump is a career bigot and white supremacist on Twitter.

Here are a few of Hill’s offerings which ESPN scolded her for for no reason, characterizing her tweets as “inappropriate” and noting her comments do not “represent the position of ESPN” because apparently ESPN does not think it’s OK to speak truth to power—see: increased efforts to protect disposable razor sales:

Here’s ESPN’s released a statement decrying her tweets:

…ESPN’s sentiment is the one that’s totally unfounded.

Trump has spent more than four decades abusing and oppressing minorities in business and as a politician.

Being a racist asshole or racist asshole adjacent is not only in his literal DNA, it’s his one-trick-pony single trick. And to clarify, his long and illustrious history of deploying racist and white supremacist tactics suits him in business and in personal aggrandizement first, last and foremost. So, even if it’s plausible to say maybe at his core Trump isn’t any of these things (untrue, he his), or that he’s just a self-dealing malignant narcissist—the fact remains he used racism and white supremacy to rise to prominence. So, in effect, he is exactly all of these in their worst iterations.

Clear on that? Good. Need examples? OK.

It starts in 1973, when the United States Department of Justice went to court with a discrimination complaint against the Trump family business (Trump was the head of it at age 26), which rented apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. Remember, this came from the Nixon administration, hardly a bastion of civil rights mongering and racial tolerance.

Trump employees confirmed during the investigation that applicants for leases were screened by race. One rental agent said Trump’s father (arrested with the KKK at a rally in New York in 1927) instructed agents not to rent to blacks and actively sought to reduce the number of African American tenants in his buildings.

Doormen were instructed to redirect blacks who came to Trump buildings to fill out applications. Rather than work with the government to shed the racist policies, Trump retained the devil himself, Roy Cohn (of Joe McCarthy witch hunt fame), and filed a $410 million lawsuit against the federal government calling the justice department attorneys “storm troopers” and “Gestapo.”

Reminder: This is the leader of the free world in 2017, a grifter who is not only a horrible president, but a horrible human being.

Trump also called the government action against him a “witch hunt” (sound familiar?) and “reverse discrimination.” The Trump organization did not win and eventually was forced to agree with protocol intended to address the racist policies of its recent past. However, through that incident, Trump established early in his career that he did not rebuff racism and even sued the government over it.

Trump’s racism stayed mostly under the radar until 1989, when five black and latino teenagers known as the Central Park Five were wrongfully accused of attacking and raping a white female jogger. Trump bought up full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty to the five boys, and when he was asked about it during the run up to the election, he stood by his initial call to murder the innocent: “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.”

Last year, on the campaign trail, Trump appealed to white supremacist’s most base instincts over and over and over. He called American-born Gonzalo Curiel a “Mexican,” and said therefore Curiel was biased against him in a lawsuit against Trump University—Trump’s scheme to bilk unwitting customers out of their money in exchange for a fake real estate degree. Trump later settled a civil suit on fraud charges, after his election, for $25 million.

Trump also suggested a Muslim judge might be incapable of giving him a fair trial, he pointed at a black man at one of his rallies and called him “my African American” and he offered to pay legal fees for violent supporters.

Then came the White Supremacist House: Once elected, Trump tapped neo-Nazi sympathizers Steve Bannon, whose ideology is to destroy the nation for personal gain largely through racial division, Stephen Miller and Seb Gorka to occupy his inner-circle (only Miller remains) along with civil rights agitator Jeff Sessions as AG.

Trump’s run has destroyed political norms and a new wave of hate crimes continues to sweep the country on his watch. His policies, to the extent there are any, in his first nine months in office are anti-Muslim, anti-African American, and for the suppression of voter rights.

Trump has found it impossible to condemn wholeheartedly the actions of white supremacists or even decry individuals or admonish the movement’s leaders when they invoke his name.

The White House, of course, had to jump in Wednesday calling Hill’s veracious comments a “fireable offense” (meanwhile the reality TV star who would be president agitated his way into the public eye predicated on the racist lie of the Birther movement, but has been left alone by his parent network NBC—that STILL runs his fucking show.)

In the end, ESPN will continue to make bad moves, continue to alienate the majority of its remaining viewership and all that’ll soon be left is a handful of c-list Twitter-famous sideline reporters and a confused, old country crooner who (still) believes Obama is Hitler …plus a few thousand Russian bot followers.

Andrew J. Pridgen is a writer and editor. His old book can be found here. His new book comes out in November. 

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