Twenty years ago, during the 2003 NFL season, conservative talk show icon Rush Limbaugh briefly worked for ESPN on Sunday NFL Countdown. During one segment, Limbaugh commented on then-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and claimed McNabb wasn’t that good a quarterback. He claimed the hype around him was not because of his performance but because of a liberal media’s desire for a black quarterback to be successful. Limbaugh’s comments were deemed racist, and he was essentially booted from the show.
Fast forward to 2023 and ESPN’s First Take, a sports talk show featuring commentator Stephen A. Smith and a variety of other panelists. Recently, one of the show’s topics was discussing NBA Most Valuable Player awards. One of those panelists, former NBA player and current analyst Kendrick Perkins, claimed that reigning two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic shouldn’t have won those awards and only did so because the voters chose him because he was white.
Perkins’s claim is essentially the flip side of Limbaugh’s comments from 20 years ago, albeit a different sport. Shockingly (sarcasm), Perkins didn’t lose his job. It’s indicative of ESPN’s hypocrisy and racial double standards. Yet even though Perkins managed to keep his job, his accusations were directly challenged. Former NBA player JJ Redick responded to Perkins a few days later on First Take and called out his anti-white rhetoric and bigotry. The two had a heated exchange, and Perkins denied any wrongdoing. Redick wasn’t having it.
“Stephen A., I mean no offense to you, and I mean no offense to First Take because I think this show is extremely valuable,” Redick said. “It is an honor to be on this desk every day. It really is. But what we’ve 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 are racist, that they favor white people — you just said that,” Redick added.
“I did not,” Perkins yelled back.
“Yes, you did,” Redick said. “That’s exactly what you implied, Kendrick Perkins.”
“I did not. I did not. I did not,” Perkins shouted while talking over Redick. “I stated the facts! I stated the facts.”
But he didn’t state any facts. Perkins only gave his opinion that racism had cost someone else the MVP award.
When it comes to race, there is a societal inconsistency and double standard that exists in the country. People have been brainwashed to think it’s OK to loathe white people because of their skin color. Often, remarks that would be considered racist if said about people of color are permitted when said about white people. It’s the reason why Perkins can say what he said and not lose his job. After all, Limbaugh was forced from his for making a similar statement.
Redick should be applauded for his remarks and courage. ESPN has been promoting anti-white bigotry for years now. Perkins’s comments were baseless, absurd, and grounded in hateful, divisive, and bigoted inflammatory rhetoric. If he were white, he’d probably have lost his job. Still, seeing someone refuse to accept such bigoted comments on that network was refreshing.
It’s clear ESPN isn’t following the precedent it set with Limbaugh back in 2003. Redick exposed an ugly truth about the network, the country, and the increasing tendency among media figures to embrace anti-white sentiments. For far too long, society has enabled, welcomed, and sometimes even encouraged anti-white rhetoric. In an era that promotes anti-racism and diversity as a pseudo-religion, discrimination against white people is somehow allowed. The country needs more people to speak up and refuse to tolerate any racism, including when the victim is white. The country needs more people with the courage of J.J. Redick.