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Incendiary Olympian equates being paid as a professional athlete to slavery on ESPN series hosted by 'anti-racist' Ibram X. Kendi
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Incendiary Olympian equates being paid as a professional athlete to slavery on ESPN series hosted by 'anti-racist' Ibram X. Kendi

A former Olympian delivered an eye-opening remark comparing professional sports contracts to slavery during an appearance on ESPN's new series hosted by "anti-racist" Ibram X. Kendi.

ESPN gave Kendi his own series titled "Skin in the Game," which "delves into and challenges racism in the sports world, and will reveal how pervasive racism is in sports, while challenging the thoughts and systems of various governing bodies."

The five-episode series features episodes sub-titled: "How Do Athletes Play a Role in Social Change?," "Are Black Women Athletes Carrying the Weight of the World?," "What is the Cost of Race Norming?," and "What is the Impact of Racist Ideas in Sports Media?"

The first episode aired on Sept. 20, in which Kendi "takes a look at black athletes who use public platforms to protest injustice and what it costs to speak up."

The episode featured former Olympian Gwendolyn Berry and journalist Howard Bryant.

Berry sparked outrage at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in June 2021, when she turned her back to the American flag during the podium ceremony.

"While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and fidgeted. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag. Toward the end, she plucked up her black T-shirt with the words 'Activist Athlete' emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head," ESPN reported.

Berry – a hammer thrower – said at the time, "The anthem doesn't speak for me. It never has."

During her recent appearance on "Skin in the Game," Gwen Berry claimed that professional sports contracts are like "slave chains."

"It's almost like the contracts are the new slave chains," Berry said as Bryant nodded in agreement.

"You're binded to this. And then if you break that, that’s your livelihood, that’s your life. So we the new slaves – athletes are literally the new slaves. Because we need this. Our families, our friends depend on this contract to eat," asserted Berry – who was wearing a shirt that read: "Activist Athlete."

Kendi – who is wearing a shirt that reads: "The 1619 Project," and sitting in the room decorated with a black fist, and signs that read: "No Justice, No Peace" and "Black Lives Matter" – responded to Berry's slavery remark by saying, "Phew! Yep."

According to Campus Reform, Kendi ended the episode by saying, "Black athletes are supposed to compete for their countries, cities, and towns, but ignore the people suffering in them? Really Ignore the justice, violence, and inequity, and just keep on playing, as if they don’t feel, as if they don’t have skin in the game?"

ESPN is owned by Disney. In July, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger declared, "It's not our goal to be involved in a culture war."

On the same day that "Skin in the Game" premiered, Iger told investors that Disney would "quiet the noise" in a culture war following a months-long dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In 2021, Netflix aired "Colin in Black and White" – a six-part docudrama series where Colin Kaepernick recounts "his formative years navigating race, class, and culture while aspiring for greatness."

In one of the episodes, Kaepernick equates being an NFL player to slavery.

The laughable comparison was widely mocked by many, including Joe Rogan.

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Skin in the Game with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Premieres September 20 ESPN+www.youtube.com

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