ESPN Forced to Correct Article After Spreading Misinformation About Jacob Blake Shooting


In the good old days, sports provided a much-needed respite from the stress of a typical American workday. Social and political differences could be put aside as fans came together to support their favorite team.

Unfortunately, partisan politics began seeping their way into sports years ago, and it has now fully infected nearly every major sport in America. There is no greater evidence of this infection than the content put out by the networks covering these major sports.

On Sunday, ESPN published a report by Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski discussing the possible impact of the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial verdict on NBA games.

“The looming specter of possible protests, civil unrest and team reactions in the aftermath of a verdict has the league office preparing for the prospect that a night or two of league games could be postponed this week,” the report said.

First of all, the fact that a fair trial and the resulting verdict is expected to cause unrest to the point NBA games may have to be postponed is ridiculous, but apparently that’s where we are in America.

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However, the main issue in this article came a few paragraphs later, when the report discussed the NBA’s previous reaction to incidents of police violence.

After explaining a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets was postponed last week due to the shooting of Daunte Wright, ESPN pushed an outright lie about the shooting of Jacob Blake.

“The NBA and WNBA postponed a full slate of playoff games after another unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida, in August 2020,” the report said.

The statement Blake was unarmed is a blatant lie that has been disproven many times, even by Blake himself. Blake admitted in a January interview on Good Morning America he had an open pocket knife when he was shot by police.

Even so, ESPN left the false claim up for hours, according to a tweet from OutKick founder Clay Travis.

“Front page @espn article by @wojespn falsely claims Jacob Blake was unarmed when he was shot by police,” he said. “Blake himself has admitted he was armed with a knife. It has been up for hours now. This is an indefensible journalistic error by ESPN.”

Later Sunday evening, OutKick writer Bobby Burack reported ESPN updated the story by simply taking out the word “unarmed.”

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“ESPN oddly reworded the story,” he wrote. “Instead of lying, ESPN opted to mislead its readers. In the first update, ESPN omitted the line that Blake was unarmed but refused to mention he was armed, which makes it seem as if Blake was not a threat.”

Even with the correction, ESPN was still trying to mislead readers. When OutKick reached out for comment and was denied, it reported on the denial. After that, ESPN finally issued a correction at the bottom of the article admitting to the mistake.

“ESPN incorrectly reported that Jacob Blake was unarmed when he was shot seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police. Blake said in an interview with Good Morning America on Jan. 14, 2021, that he was carrying a small pocket knife, which he said he had initially dropped,” the correction said.

Do you think ESPN purposefully pushed lies to further a narrative?

“In 2021, it takes a lot of work to get an outlet to report the truth or even a portion of it,” Burack wrote.

Of course, even that correction leaves out the fact Blake had an outstanding warrant for his arrest and Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey, the officer who shot him, was cleared of any charges in the matter, as Fox News reported.

As it turns out, if a suspect actively resists arrest while wielding a knife, an officer has valid reason to believe the suspect is a threat.

According to Burack, no other outlet spoke out about ESPN’s blatant misinformation on Sunday.

“OutKick was the only outlet to point out on Sunday afternoon that ESPN was again trying to spread this lie, one that promises to cause more racial division,” he reported.

Where were Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey on this story? If Facebook can censor a completely true story about Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ spending spree, why can’t they address actual misinformation from a mainstream sports outlet?

Calling this report a “journalistic error” is actually nicer than what it probably was: a blatant attempt to push a narrative supported at one point or another by nearly every establishment media outlet.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.