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ESPN issues correction after analyst falsely claims NBA MVP panel is 80% white

Image courtesy @ClutchPointsApp / Twitter / BlacktopBuckets / YouTube (screenshots)

ESPN host Molly Qerim issued a correction on behalf of the network after one of its hosts, Kendrick Perkins, implied that panelists who vote for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award are biased toward white players because, he said, the panel is 80% white.

On the show "First Take," where Perkins spoke, Qerim said, "I want correct something here from yesterday's show."

"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 that we corrected that today."

Perkins, a former NBA player himself, said that "when it comes down to guys winning MVP since 1990, it's only three guys that won the MVP that wasn't top 10 in scoring."

"Do you know who those three guys were? Steve Nash, Jokic, and Dirk Nowitzki. Now, what do those guys have in common? I'll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it," he continued.

"When it comes to MVP voting, 80 percent of the voters are white American. Twenty percent are others. I know that stat," Perkins added.

Another analyst and former NBA player, J.J. Redick, quickly called Perkins out for his claim.

"What we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show," Redick said.

"We create narratives that do not exist in reality. The implication, what you are implying, that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor white people. … That’s exactly what you implied, Kendrick Perkins."

Redick's comments were praised online, specifically by former NBA MVP Charles Barkley, who won the award in 1993.

During a phone appearance on Denver's 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio, Barkley called the comments "asinine, silly," and "stupid."

"When I heard this for the first time last week, I said this has to be one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard," Barkley added.

Sports writer Gary Sheffield Jr. commented, "Unfortunately for ESPN, Kendrick Perkins never knew or cared what the panel looked like because he has an agenda to push and it's to remind black people that we're always victims."

"I just wonder when ESPN will begin to cut ties with this type of dialogue altogether and get back to talking sports? Ya know, what made us watch them all those years ago," Sheffield added.

There have been 67 total MVP awards handed out by the NBA. Of the 67, over 80% of the award recipients have been black. Since 2010, the award has been given to a white player twice, both to Serbian player Nikola Jokic.

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