ESPN removes some fantasy football leagues and teams with offensive names

ESPN has yanked fantasy football leagues with anti-Semitic names from its website after a complaint from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said: "Offensive hate speech like the examples discussed here have no place on our site. While we have systems in place to protect against inappropriate team and league names clearly with millions of users and deceptive ways around the safeguards, we can never completely eliminate it."

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Our Take: 

ESPN consistently finds itself on the fence for issues of censorship and offensiveness. Does ESPN let fantasy football users get away with offensive names, which are considered a staple of many in the fantasy football world, or do they side with the folks that get offended by whatever they read online?

As I don't personally belong to an ethnic group that gets much thrown at it, it's hard for me to be objective. I often like the fantasy football team names, however offensive, that show up around different leagues.

At the same time, nobody in my leagues is a bigot and uses terms and phrases like the ones ESPN just pulled. In my leagues, my mom would be offended by the names, but that's about it. I can't say I would even participate in a league that used team names like those mentioned in the article.

While I don't subscribe to the business philosophy of cow-towing to the "loudest voices in the room," I can understand why ESPN decided to pull these league and team names at least at the public level. Their brand and reach are too big to just ignore stuff like this. The question is, what do the other fantasy league runners do about the same situation?


ESPN yanks fantasy leagues with anti-Semitic names
Michael McCarthy, USA Today