Jemele Hill, Cari Champion respond to outrage over ‘racist’ Jake Paul question
Former ESPN anchors Jemele Hill and Cari Champion responded to internet backlash Wednesday after asking Jake Paul in a recent interview if his knockout win over Nate Robinson was racist.
While appearing on Vice TV’s “Cari & Jemele (Won’t) Stick to Sports,” the 23-year-old YouTube sensation was asked about his recent rumble over the former New York Knicks guard.
“Jake, considering where we are right now in our racial conversation in America, was what you did to Nate Robinson racist?” Hill asked before chuckling.
Paul then responded, “Nah, stop playing with me. Come on,” before he dove into his training regimen.
“This is what we train for, at the end of the day, boxing’s a sport and you train to win,” he said. “Nate is the one who called me out originally.”
Champion then reiterated Hill’s question, “Was it racist to knock a Black man out? That is the question of the week.”
“Stop asking me that, I said no,” Paul replied. “It’s a s—ty question. It’s a sport.”
When Champion asked, “Why is it a s—-y question,” Paul answered: “Because how does this have anything do with race? It doesn’t.”
As the segment made the rounds online, keyboard warriors called out Hill and Champion, both of whom addressed the controversy on their respective social media pages.
“Jake Paul Controversy is Much Ado About Nothing,” Hill captioned the clip on Instagram. “Judge for yourselves. All good if you don’t think it’s funny or if you think the joke fell flat, but we were clearly kidding around with Jake Paul — which he knew.”
Champion also tweeted, “Y’all, @jemelehill and I were trolling a troll with permission. This wasn’t an interview with weight. It was sarcastic- y’all need context? Bc if y’all can’t hear the laughing, the bad WiFi connection- smh. So for the outraged! For more context Thurs. at 1130pm on @VICETV.”
“NOW RACISM IS SERIOUS! Okkkk. Lol,” she continued.
Champion, who previously anchored ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” also retweeted a message noting the hostile messages she and Hill have since received.
“The anger and animosity people are directing at @CariChampion and @JemeleHill isn’t about any question or this particular issue,” Danny O’Neil tweeted Wednesday.
“It’s an excuse that is being used to justify the vicious hostility being vented upon them. Pretty pathetic, honestly.”
Hill departed ESPN in 2018.
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