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Shannon Sharpe blasts Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy for watermelon stunt


'Watermelon has a negative connotation'

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was heavily criticized by sports commentator Shannon Sharpe Tuesday morning after McCarthy used a sledgehammer and a watermelon to motivate his players to win their Sunday match against the Minnesota Vikings.

McCarthy reportedly pulled out a sledgehammer during Saturday night's team meeting and smashed watermelons, mimicking the prop comic Gallagher, to inspire his players to "hammer the ball" out of Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook's hands. NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero recounted the stunt Monday.

"Mike McCarthy gets up and says, 'Guys, I want to apologize. I don't think I did a good enough job emphasizing our objectives for the week' — one of which was to hammer the ball out of [Minnesota running back] Dalvin Cook's hands," Pelissero said. "At that point McCarthy pulls out a sledgehammer, not a prop, a full sledgehammer you could knock a wall down with, and someone rolls in a bunch of watermelons."

"Each one has a different objective written on it," Pelissero added. "McCarthy reads the objective — BAM! — smashes the watermelon. He goes down the row doing this. The players are roaring, McCarthy's pants are soaked. He finally gets to the watermelon with Dalvin Cook's picture on it, DeMarcus Lawrence jumps up and goes, 'I've got to get that one.' He hands the sledgehammer to Lawrence, he smashes that watermelon."

Fun, right? Not according to Fox Sports 1's Shannon Sharpe. Discussing the Cowboys' team meeting on "Undisputed," Sharpe said "I don't think it's fun."

"Dear white America, any time you have black people in your presence, watermelon has a negative connotation," he continued.

"Yep," Skip Bayless agreed.

"Let it go," Sharpe went on. "Things that were acceptable many, many years ago, even though it wasn't acceptable, it was tolerated, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Find another tool, another mechanism to motivate your players. Black players: If you need somebody, a white man smashing watermelons, to get you motivated, you're in the wrong line of business. It's not funny. It's not cute."

Sharpe began yelling:

I don't get these young guys anymore, I really don't. Because there ain't no way in hell Mike Shanahan, Dan Reeves, Wade Phillips, or any of my coaches could have ever brought a watermelon and ... what!? And you think that's cool? And he bragged about it!

If you ain't going to a picnic, if you ain't going to a cookout or a barbecue, man you better not have no watermelons coming up in there talking about we smashing this.

I don't know what Mike McCarthy was thinking. And I don't know what those black players in the locker room was thinking allowing him to do that to them.

"Agreed," Bayless said.

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