NFL Network host Ian Rapoport is in hot water after seemingly joking about the Brittany Griner sentence on air. Griner, a WNBA star, was sentenced to nine years in prison by the Russian government following her trial for drug smuggling.
The smuggling charges center around a marijuana vape cartridges found in her bags at a Russian airport, totaling less than a gram in weight. While its legal to carry in many states in the US, it is illegal in Russia.
Now, the country’s leaders are looking for a way to get her back to US soil, potentially agreeing on a trade for the jailed athlete.
Many around the sports world have been outspoken on the harsh punishment, particularly with the near 10-year sentence coming down this week.
But in this latest NFL Network clip, the co-hosts are seen being insensitive to the recent happenings.
NFL Network co-host blasted for Brittney Griner sentence joke
The clip shows NFL Network co-hosts Ian Rapoport, James Palmer, and Andrew Siciliano chatting about training camp. Rapoport was apparently tackled by Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett prior to the segment, which stemmed the reaction from the broadcasters.
Rapoport was asked if he was okay following the tackle, to which he responded, “I’ve been through a lot worse.”
Then, co-host James Palmer interjects, saying the following.
“Listen, if Ian thinks he can survive in a Russian prison, which apparently, he believes, a tackle from Nathaniel Hackett is the least of his problems.”
Rapoport then responds, “That was really not for air, but sure, I guess that’s true.”
Andrew Siciliano attempts to reel things back in, revealing that the comments were made in an off-air conversation before closing the segment.
Definitely not the smartest thing to say amid the Brittney Griner sentencing.
The social media reaction was not kind.
Fans react to Ian Rapoport comments
This is beyond insensitive and disrespectful https://t.co/jE87rH6AKl
— ᴍᴇɢʜᴀɴ ᴍᴄᴘᴇᴀᴋ (@meghanmcpeak) August 4, 2022
— Dansby Swanson Extension Watch – Official Account (@Whitey_83) August 4, 2022
5’4 white guy voice: yeah I could survive in a Russian prison https://t.co/gIX3f41434
— M (@mjkea) August 4, 2022
Just really disgusting behavior and that’s putting this mildly. https://t.co/yN2f40RbfC
— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) August 4, 2022
Not a great look for Rapoport.
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