Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia students mad at ESPN for being portrayed as hillbillies


ESPN aired the latest segment in the “30 for 30″ series called “Requiem for the Big East.” In the film, they used the famous “Dueling Banjos” clip when introducing West Virginia and that has the students outraged. In particular, student body president Christopher Nyden laid out his grievances and called for ESPN to issue an immediate apology.

Nyden wrote on Thursday in the The Daily Athenaeum:

“In an extremely classless move, the executive producer Ezra Edelman apparently chose to not only include the often stereotypically-used ‘Dueling Banjos’ in his introduction of West Virginia, but he also depicted our people as barely clothed, playing a banjo on the front porch of a cabin to conjure up a backwoods’ stereotype of sorts.

“Furthering this offensive depiction is the fact that earlier in the episode, Edelman covered the racism Patrick Ewing endured as a student-athlete at Georgetown.

“While discrimination on a racial basis is rightfully condemned, socioeconomic discrimination apparently has a free pass.

“This is nothing new to West Virginia. We’ve been in the national news a lot in recent memory. If it’s not something bad that’s happened to us, as is the case with the recent water crisis, it is something that sheds a bad light on West Virginia. This needs to stop.”

We’ll see if ESPN decides to apologize. Of course when you have a mascot who wears dead animals on his head, what kind of image do you expect people to conjure up when thinking about the state.

Of course when I think of banjos I think of Steve Martin, that isn’t very backwoods. He is actually pretty good.

Tags: West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Cody A. Lewis

    “Of course when you have a mascot who wears dead animals on his head, what kind of image do you expect people to conjure up when thinking about the state.”

    I wasn’t aware that a popular clothing option on the frontier throughout American history, a history we as a state embrace, was directly associated with incest and poverty. The author of this article is equally as ignorant as one Ezra Edelman when it comes to stereotypes this state faces. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and have yet to see anyone dating with a relative, having inter course with animals, or running around barely clothed or any other stereotype depicted by one Ezra Edelman and continued by the ignorance of this articles author, I for one, shall never return to this site.