ESPN star apologizes for saying player only made the US basketball team because he's white

The commentator and former NBA player said he thinks Love was chosen because Team USA wanted a white player on the otherwise all-black team.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Commentator and former NBA player Jalen Rose said he thinks Love was chosen because Team USA wanted a white player on the otherwise all-black team.

On June 24, the ESPN analyst took to his show, Jalen & Jacoby, to offer his opinion on the nation's Olympic basketball team selection.

In the episode, Rose said he believes "Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism." He then went on to suggest that the United States was "scared" to send an all-black basketball team to the Olympics, despite the fact that they have done so in the past, and that he was "disappointed" by the decision.

After making these comments, Rose then pivoted and began criticizing Love's game. "Anybody that watched the league this year," he said, "knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be this squad."

Many were quick to point out the double standards at play. "If a white pundit called a black athlete a token, he'd be fired and ESPN would go on a massive apology tour," wrote commentator David Hookstead.

After facing pushback, Rose posted a 42 minute-long Instagram video in which he defended his stance on Love's performance, but apologized for the language he used to made the point.

Rose said that he felt like he'd "disrespected the game" of basketball.

"I'm what the game made me," he said. "I was raised by the all-time greats ... and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint."

Rose continued: "If I feel like Kevin Love didn't deserve to make the team and I feel like it may be something racially motivated that caused him to make the team ... if I feel that, I shouldn't say it."

Rose did eventually get around to apologizing to Love himself. "To Kevin Love," he said, "I'm sorry. Not that I believe that you deserve to make the team..."

ESPN's Marc J. Spears tweeted that the team's executive director Jerry Colangelo said Love made the cut "due to his versatility, ability to rebound and score and his previous @usabasketball experience." As Bleacher Report points out, Love "was on the 2012 [Olympic] squad that won gold in London."


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