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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

ESPN again lies about important detail in Jacob Blake case

An ESPN employee lied about an important detail in the Jacob Blake case when speaking about it earlier this month, and that has now become a theme for the network.

Like Mark Jones a few weeks ago, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski made an inaccurate statement about the Blake case in an article he published on Sunday morning. The story was about the NBA sending a memo to teams to prepare them for the potential of games being postponed after a verdict is handed down in the Derek Chauvin trial. Woj mentioned how an NBA game was postponed last week after Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, was shot and killed during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis. He then pointed to playoff games being postponed last year after Blake was shot several times by police in Kenosha, Wisc., and Wojnarowski initially referred to Blake as “another unarmed Black man.”

Blake was not unarmed, as he was holding a knife prior to being shot. Wojnarowski or an ESPN editor eventually removed the word “unarmed,” but the false information was left in the story for several hours. You can see a screenshot of the original below:

Police stated at the time of the Kenosha incident last year that Blake had a knife. Blake also admitted in a January interview that he was armed with a knife prior to being shot.

“I realized I had dropped my knife, had a little pocket knife. So I picked it up after I got off of him because they tased me and I fell on top of him,” Blake said in an interview that aired in January.

The police officers involved in the shooting were not charged by the Kenosha County district attorney. The district attorney determined the officers were acting in self-defense against an armed man who was resisting arrest. Prior to being shot seven times, Blake was Tased by police multiple times and fought with them on the ground. He picked up a knife off the ground and was going towards his car when he was shot. The incident, which was captured on video and shared over social media, inflamed racial tensions and led to riots in Kenosha.

ESPN is a major outlet with a massive audience and has an obligation to provide factual information. The network remained silent when Jones perpetuated the same false narrative as Wojnarowski. Jones made his remarks on live TV, which you can see here.

ESPN has made it a point to integrate sensitive racial issues into their content over the past year, but it does not seem like the company, its editors, or reporters are placing an emphasis on accuracy.


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