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CNN Segment Blows Up as Ben Ferguson Suggests Black Football Players Aren’t Politically Active

Before yesterday’s preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants, twelve Browns players knelt while the National Anthem played to protest racial and social injustice. Last night’s demonstration gained even more notice as it was the first time since the pre-game protests first drew notoriety last year that a white NFL player took part.

During a CNN panel discussion this afternoon on the issue, conservative political commentator Ben Ferguson drew the ire of everyone else when he suggested that the players involved — all but one are black — aren’t politically active. And, besides questioning their political and social awareness, Ferguson went so far as to question whether or not they were even registered to vote.

Sportswriter Dave Zirin got the discussion started by stating that more NFL players are getting involved in the protest because of the Charlottesville protest and their belief that quarterback Colin Kaepernick is without a job because of his high-profile protests. This led Ferguson to attempt to get into a sports debate with Zirin, claiming Kaepernick isn’t playing because he lost a lot of games, leading to Zirin highlighting Kaep’s actual stats.

Following Ferguson’s trashing of Kaepernick, the talk radio host went on to question the sincerity of the players involved in last night’s demonstration.

“How many of the guys that were kneeling last night were involved in the off-season in any type of protest at the local or state level?” Ferguson declared. “How many of the guys kneeling went out there and mentored young African-American men in their community in the off-season? How many of them got involved in politics at all in the off-season? In fact, how many of them are even registered to vote or voted in the last election?”

When Zirin pointed out that there were players that were very active in their communities, Ferguson once again asked how many were registered to vote, causing political commentator Keith Boykin to accuse Ferguson of using “diversionary tactics.”

And the segment would go on like this for a few more minutes, with Ferguson again pounding home his suggestion that the players weren’t involved in the community nor cared about politics, pointing to their social media accounts as proof. A clearly perturbed Zirin would at one point tell Ferguson he was being “prejudicial” by assuming these players weren’t socially aware and active.

Following all three men shouting over each other, Boykin said this was all a “red herring” tossed out by Ferguson, telling the conservative commentator that he didn’t get to tell anyone when or how to protest. “That’s not your job,” Boykin added.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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