ESPN’s Max Kellerman claimed on the sports network’s “First Take” program Tuesday that mysterious conservative “agitators,” and not leftist demonstrators, are behind months of nationwide riots.
Kellerman was discussing UFC fighter Colby Covington’s victory Saturday over Tyron Woodley when he asserted that the violence, looting, arson and even murders that have occurred during the weeks of civil unrest since May are the work of covert right-wing operatives.
Apparently triggered by Covington’s friendly relationship with President Donald Trump and his attack on NBA star LeBron James after the TKO victory Saturday in Las Vegas, the ESPN host stepped in to offer his take — and it was a very bad one.
Kellerman accused Covington of seeking attention and claimed the fighter was reading from prepared remarks.
“When he talks about Black Lives Matter, 93 percent of the protests are peaceful,” he said.
The “First Take” host added, “And, by the way, the 7 percent that are not, they have a very broad definition of what’s not, quote-unquote, peaceful. For example, if you block traffic or something like that. Or if you respond to police provocation.
“And even then, a big percentage of that which wasn’t peaceful is actually outside agitators, extremist right-wing agitators posing as protesters in order to make the protests look bad.”
As social media commentator David Hookstead summarized Kellerman’s comments, “This is insanity.”
ESPN’s Max Kellerman says without any evidence that “extremist right-wing agitators” are responsible for the riots around America.
This is insanity. pic.twitter.com/woOvFtwIvr
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) September 22, 2020
After his victory over Woodley, Covington threw a few jabs at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the silent majority is ready to make some noise,” he said.
Covington added, “If you thought that was a beating, wait until Nov. 3 when Donald Trump gets his hands on Sleepy Joe. That’s going to be a landslide.”
Colby Covington post fight interview. pic.twitter.com/foEUWHWPrY
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) September 20, 2020
For good measure, apparently, he then body slammed high-profile leftist NBA player LeBron James.
“[First responders] keep us safe, not these woke athletes, man,” Covington said.
“I’m sick of these woke athletes, these spineless cowards like LeBron James,” he added.
Covington later received a call from Trump during an interview in which the fighter was wearing a red “Keep America Great” hat.
During the call, in which Covington had the president on speakerphone, Trump praised his opponent, Woodley, as tough, and said, “You’re tough, you have the right spirits. So now go win the next one, and keep it for a long time.”
The series of events — Covington’s win, his comments about leftist activism in sports and the call from the president — were apparently more than Kellerman could bear.
It’s clear that “extremist right-wing agitators” aren’t the driving force behind the months of violence and rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody.
As many on social media pointed out when the Princeton report was released earlier this month, the study actually found that Black Lives Matter protests were not only widespread but had been shockingly violent.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 6, 2020
🚨🚨🚨 Oppsie daisy. They are trying to run cover for themselves and self-owning every step of the way. https://t.co/qlv63fwSaZ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 6, 2020
This is the best part
There were no riots in CHOP! Just Protest!
And, of course, several dead people
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) September 6, 2020
Looks pretty fiery https://t.co/3EjDnJS6ZC
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) September 6, 2020
In a world of horrid sports takes, Kellerman set the bar even lower when he used his “First Take” chair to take a swipe at conservatives.
Unlike Covington, he was unable to land a punch, so he resorted to pushing conspiracy theories.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.