ESPN NBA Analyst Tries to Clear the Air After ‘Uncle Tom’ Comment Sparks Anger

Mar 21, 2011  •  Post A Comment

After a war of words over race in sports broke out in the wake of ESPN’s airing of the documentary “The Fab Five,” ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose is attempting to clarify comments he made in the film and apparently wants to defuse the situation, SportsNewser.com reports.

The documentary on the 1990s University of Michigan basketball team, of which Rose was a member, stirred up controversy after Rose apparently called NBA player Grant Hill an "Uncle Tom" because he played for Duke University.

Hill later responded in The New York Times, saying in part: “It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events … to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its premiere.”

Rose sounded apologetic in a blog this weekend on The Wall Street Journal’s The Daily Fix, SportsNewser reported.

Retreating from comments he made in the documentary, Rose wrote, "I respect the success of Duke’s program and stated this was my opinion as a teenager growing up in the inner city of Detroit. I also acknowledged that Grant Hill had something I wanted growing up–a successful family. It’s a bit disappointing some people insinuated I think black people from successful families are Uncle Toms. What made the documentary must-see TV is the fact we showed brutal honesty and addressed every topic head on and without reservation.”

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