ESPN Has ‘No Comment' on Its College GameDay 'Minstrel Show'
ESPN declined on Sunday to comment about the incident.
The FSU tradition, which some members of the Seminole tribe have called a “minstrel show.” dates back to 1978: A man dressed up like a tribal 'chief' named Osceola (né William Powell), rides out onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on a horse before home games and throws a flaming spear into the ground at midfield while the crowd goes wild.
ESPN: No Comment on Talent 'Wearing the Native Equivalent of Black Face'
This is not how you honor Native American heritage.
By Andrew Cohen
It's nothing personal against Native Americans, ESPN wants you to know. It's strictly business and entirely part of the show's routine. So a white man dresses up like an American Indian "chief," dances around the set like a clown, gets tackled by Bill Murray, the spear gets tossed into the crowd at Clemson, and everyone has a grand old time, including the on-air talent and ESPN's own online tribunes.
Evidently, no one at ESPN stopped to think: "Hey, maybe some folks might consider Corso's dance inappropriate" especially for a network that has covered the "Redskins" controversy and has a huge stake in the success and reputation of the National Football League (and college football, for that matter). And clearly no one afterward at the network seemed inclined to offer any sort of explanation or rationale for what had just aired.
But the fact is that many people did consider the episode highly offensive.
ESPN Makes a Mockery of Native Americans on National Television
ESPN’s “Red-face” Minstrel Show by Matt Remle
Native American group unhappy with Lee Corson for portraying Seminole on College GameDay
For more on the Seminole mascot, see Seminole Fans in Plains Headdresses and Why FSU's Seminoles Aren't Okay.