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.