Throughout its coverage of the NFL draft on Thursday and Friday, ESPN highlighted several personal tragedies and extremely sad backstories of the league’s newest players.
In fact, the network seemed to do so constantly — and it didn’t take fans long to notice.
Now, it’s not like ESPN was making up or exaggerating anything. They were all legit, tragic, heartbreaking stories that are worth being told — like a player whose family battled drug addiction, another whose family was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, car accidents and more.
It just never stopped. In many cases, the tragic story came almost immediately after the pick was announced, too.
The network released a statement to Sporting News about its coverage on Saturday.
“Our NFL draft coverage analyzes the prospects on the field and introduces the human side of the players by telling their stories, including the obstacles their families have overcome as part of the journey to the NFL.”
Once fans picked up on the trend, though, there were plenty of jokes to be made on social media.
Roger Goodell: "A team selects a player, position, out of a school."— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) April 24, 2020
ESPN: "Congratulations to the player. He's a really good player. Now let us tell you about the worst thing that ever happened to this human."
ESPN: tell us about yourself— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) April 25, 2020
NFL DRAFT PROSPECT: so i like football, hanging out with my friends, playing video games! looking forward to helping at the next level!!
ESPN: yea sure anyway what's ur greatest personal tragedy and do u prefer soft piano or harp as background music
had this mans mama's drug addiction up their like a stat pic.twitter.com/iuW8qQ9bSK— I Miss Conecuh (@BluntStatement) April 24, 2020
“He had a 4.0 GPA in high school and got 1900 on the SAT.” “OK, but any of his siblings die?”— David Steele (@David_C_Steele) April 24, 2020
Getting picked in this draft is like the first one-on-one date in Bachelor where you have to explain some tragedy in your life— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) April 25, 2020
And with this pick in the NFL Draft, this team selects ... another player with tragedy porn.— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) April 24, 2020
All the sad stories ... Is this the #NFLDraft or This Is Us?— Tim Heaney (@TeamHeaney) April 24, 2020
Not able to watch the draft right now. Has anyone overcome a personal tragedy?— Ira Schoffel (@IraSchoffel) April 24, 2020
seriously trey what the hell— Josh Vitale (@JoshVitale) April 24, 2020
ESPN draft prep: “Alright just gonna need your height, weight, hometown, a fun fact, and then the most horrific tragedy that’s ever happened to you or an immediate family member”— Tommy Smokes (@TomScibelli) April 25, 2020
Also does anyone else think it’s weird that immediately after a guy gets drafted ESPN comes in with the exact date and time that they experienced a life-altering tragedy— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) April 24, 2020
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