Max Kellerman, co-host of ESPN’s morning show First Take, had a “hot take” this morning that he probably should have kept to himself.
Kellerman and co-host Stephen A. Smith were discussing the recent comments of Colby Covington who said he was tired of “woke athletes” and called Lebron James a “spineless coward” following his win over Tyson Woodley via TKO at UFC Vegas 11. Covington, a vocal supporter of President Trump and critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, also received a call from President Trump during his post-fight interview.
The fighter doubled down on his comments Tuesday on Twitter. “LOL at the snowflakes that believe @KingJames could even last 10 seconds with me!” Covington said. “If that coward had the balls or the ability to kick anyone’s ass, Delonte West would’ve lost his teeth long before his meth habit!” Referring to the alleged affair James’ former teammate West had with James’ mother.
During a debate on the ESPN mid-morning show, Kellerman claimed that “93 percent of the protests are peaceful.”
“The vast, overwhelming majority are peaceful, and by the way, the seven percent that are not, they have a very broad definition of what’s not ‘peaceful,’ for example if you block traffic or something like that or if you respond to police provocation,” Kellerman said. “And even then, a big percentage of that, that wasn’t peaceful, is actually outside agitators, extremist right-wing agitators posing as protestors in order to make the protests look bad.”
Kellerman was referring to a report by non-profit The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) that analyzed more than 7,750 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. between May 26 and August 22. The report classified 93% of BLM protests as “peaceful.”
The report also highlighted a “violent government response” that “disproportionately used force while intervening in demonstrations associated with the BLM movement, relative to other types of demonstrations.” It references “dozens of car-ramming attacks” on protesters by various individuals, some of whom have ties to hate groups.
Kellerman must have seen the headline and interpreted it as “right-wing agitators are the ones behind 100% of the violence” even though the report doesn’t say that. He failed to provide any evidence for his claims or comment on the violence caused by BLM groups.
The ‘First Take’ co-host is known for making bombastic comments on sports topics that regularly get him mentioned in the news. It’s fine when it’s only sports, but when he starts talking politics, he’s uninformed and way out of his element.
Is this what ‘Peaceful’ Looks Like?
Instead of listening to sports analyst Max Kellerman, let’s go over the numbers from these “peaceful protests. As reported by the New York Post, a Department of Justice study found that 700 law enforcement officers have been injured as a result of the BLM protests. Attorney General William Barr added that during the violent riots in Washington, DC, 60 Secret Service agents and 40 US Park Police were also injured with 22 of those officers hospitalized with serious injuries.
It’s not just police officers. As of June 8th, 19 people had died during BLM protests, according to Forbes. This doesn’t include the two victims who were killed by Kyle Rittenhouse as he defended himself during the Jacob Blake demonstrations in Kenosha, Washington.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service added that over 150 Federal buildings had also been vandalized during the process. And according to a report by Property Claim Services (PCS) last week, vandalism and looting across 20 states since late May have reached ‘catastrophe’ levels and resulted in at least $1 billion in damages. PCS estimated that civil unrest this year will lead to $2 billion of paid insurance claims.
Or how about the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, in Seattle where protestors declared an “autonomous” zone free from state and federal government control and held it hostage for a list of demands that included, “cut Seattle’s $409 million police budget by 50 percent” among other ridiculous things. A zone free from leadership and laws where multiple shootings took place including one that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy.
Or the 100 consecutive nights of protests in Portland, OR that the justice department says were “marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing.”
And just yesterday, after the Breonna Taylor verdict was announced, 2 Louisville police officers were shot during another “peaceful” protest.
As the protests continue and BLM continues to push the narrative that “All Cops Are Bastards” and police should be defunded, these incidents will continue to happen whether Kellerman wants to acknowledge them or not.
Where are all the “Right-wing agitators”?
To be fair, there have been some assholes not affiliated with BLM that have committed some acts of vandalism to make the riots more violent. There was “Umbrella Man”, as social media dubbed him, a man who went around smashing windows in Minneapolis who was a white supremacist affiliated with a group known as the “Aryan Cowboys”.
There was also Kyle Rittenhouse who shot two people, killing one in Kenosha. Even though video evidence was on his side of defending himself, it was still an avoidable incident.
And that’s pretty much it from the “right wing agitators”. Kellerman is spouting nonsense and supporting a conspiracy theory that has been repeatedly debunked. There is a lot of evidence for BLM violence and almost nothing from the counter-protestors attempting to bring order back to their cities.
Stick to Sports
Supporting a cause is one thing. Hell, even if you support something in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that’s your prerogative. It becomes irresponsible when you peddle conspiracy theories to the public as the host of a somewhat popular morning sports show.
Celebrities are known for pushing false narratives to further their liberal agendas and spreading conspiracy theories are nothing new (remember the Trump “pee tape”?) for the left. But does Kellerman truly believe that his viewers are that stupid? That they’ll attribute ALL of the BLM and Antifa violence to “right-wing agitators” despite no evidence to support that claim?
This is the social media era. We see the videos from the protests and we see, time and time again, protestors ruining local small businesses, looting, burning, and assaulting police officers or anybody that disagrees with them. Even the wokest of the woke on Twitter weren’t there to defend Kellerman’s claims. All he got for his troubles was a well-deserved bashing from the public.
It’s beyond trying to push a narrative. Kellerman is bending the headline from one report into justification of all the killing and destruction from BLM and Antifa. What’s worse, he put all of the blame on “right-wing” supporters in an attempt to demonize Trump supporters and anybody that disagrees with the protests.
Kellerman has criticized BLM before when they criticized Israel, but when they cause violence across the country he’s suddenly incapable of saying anything critical.
Like most of his takes, his stance on the protests wasn’t based in facts. He was told by ESPN management or by his producer or his publicist that this opinion would get him the headlines, so he went with it. It’s an attempt to capture the “woke” crowd that ended up making him look like an idiot.
Please, Max Kellerman, stick to what you kind of know, sports. You’re barely good at that and regularly embarrassed on the air by your more talented co-host Stephen A. Smith. If you’re going to get political, do your research, be honest, don’t spout conspiracy theories and pretend to be “woke” because you want to make headlines. It’s irresponsible, lazy, and dangerous.