Race relations continue to be tense in America still in 2021. One thing that some folks tend to forget is that no matter your financial status or level of celebrity, the color of your skin is still the first thing that some people see and care about. People have been trying to change this dynamic of simple race issues, no matter your “status” for years, and perhaps some people should really take heed to what changes need to be made in order to switch their mindsets. In any case, most need to just be mindful of what they do and say.
Such is the case with long time sports commentator for ESPN Jackie MacCullan, who is coming under fire for some choice words concerning Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. While Irving has been taking a sabbatical reportedly due to being upset over “everything that is going in this country” surrounding the Capitol Hill riots, he’s back in headlines thanks to MacCullan’s statements made on The Ryen Russillo Podcast.
During her recent appearance, MacCullan is heard speaking on Kyrie’s recent absence from the team and recalled a time where the two had a debate while he was a player on the Boston Celtics over whether players were the property of the NBA.
“So I will tell you this, I was thinking of all the conversations I’ve had with Kyrie through the years,” she began. “One of them I had — I don’t know — two years ago, we got into an argument about, you know, something. And he’s like, ‘Well there shouldn’t be an NBA draft. Players should be able to go wherever they want to go. We’re not, you know, someone’s property.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah you are, dude. That’s the way it works. That’s why you get paid all these millions.’”
Kyrie Irving – “There shouldn’t be an NBA Draft. Players should be able to go wherever they want to. We’re not someone’s property.”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 14, 2021
Jackie Mac: “Yeah you are dude. That’s the way this works. That’s why you get paid all those millions.”
Her choice of wording and the fact that host Ryen Russillo’s didn’t challenge her statements led them both to become targets for backlash on social media. Users were not fans of the transaction at all. “Jackie MacMullan is wild for this. What’s crazier is no one thought to edit it out or ask her to clarify. So that means multiple people heard this and was like ‘yeah I agree with her,’” wrote one user on Twitter. Another writes, “Russillo, Jackie MacMullan & Bill Simmons really recorded a podcast where they called black NBA players ‘property’, then compared them to dogs and uploaded it.”
Social media is calling for a public apology from Jackie MacMulland and Ryen Russillo, and are also demanding that ESPN take action as well. So far there has been no comment from either party.