ESPN doesn’t seem too privy to the reality that men hurt, too.
On a Wednesday afternoon episode of ESPN’s Highly Questionable, co-hosts Dan Le Batard, Gonzalo Le Betard and Sarah Spain discussed whether people have the right to continue body-shaming NFL player Eddie Lacy. Facebook user Sawyer Jenkins first captured the cringeworthy discussion titled “Should People Stop Body-Shaming Eddie Lacy?”
Like innumerable celebrities and public figures, Lacy has been the target of body-shaming internet trolls. While the athlete’s unstable weight has been the subject of ridicule for years, it’s now back in the limelight.
Lacy signed with the Seattle Seahawks a year after the team’s coach publicly stated Lacy would have to lose weight in order to return to the team. Following the March signing, trolls promptly resurfaced tweets from Lacy — dating back four to six years ago — which conveyed his affection for Chinese food. They used the 27-year-old’s posts to create memes with the intention of ridiculing his weight.
The actual banter that took place during the insensitive ESPN discussion is irrelevant. The real issue here is that the conversation was even had at all. As a result of the televised debate, Highly Questionable essentially framed a form of bullying as something that could be justified. ESPN would have been unarguably dragged to the ends of the earth had they made a woman the focal point of that conversation. I mean, the brother even made it clear to another ESPN outlet that he was hurting as a result of the cyber attacks.
“It sucks,” Lacy told ESPN The Magazine in an article published earlier on Wednesday. “It definitely sent me into a funk. I wish I could understand what they get out of it.”
“You just can’t shake it,” Lacy said of the body-shaming. “And no matter what, you can’t say nothing back to them. You just have to read it, get mad or however it makes you feel, and move on. I could be 225 and they’d still be like, ‘You’re still a fat piece of s**t.’”
Weight is a sensitive subject for both men and women. Given Lacy’s status as a Black man, the illegitimization of him as an emotional being made the discussion further infuriating given the pressures Black men regularly face to be impassive.
The internet needs to leave Lacy alone and ESPN needs to know that not everything making waves on social media deserves attention, much less, validation.