ESPN’s Max Kellerman raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he claimed that "extremist right-wing agitators" are largely responsible for violent demonstrations that have erupted throughout America since George Floyd was killed by Minneaopolis police.
Kellerman claimed that “93 percent of the protests are peaceful” and the rest are essentially blocking traffic, responding to police or members of the far-right who are posing as protestors.
“The vast, overwhelming majority are peaceful, and by the way, the seven percent that are not, they have a very broad definition of what’s not ‘peaceful,’ for example if you block traffic or something like that or if you respond to police provocation,” Kellerman said. “And even then, a big percentage of that, that wasn’t peaceful, is actually outside agitators, extremist right-wing agitators posing as protestors in order to make the protests look bad.”
The ESPN host’s comment came days after an estimate that the summer riots will be the costliest in insurance history, according to the Insurance Information Institute. An estimated $1 billion to $2 billion in claims are expected to be paid.
ESPN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The violence in several U.S. cities has led to federal officials labeling them as "anarchist jurisdictions."
The Justice Department recently identified New York City, Portland, Ore., and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed under a memorandum by President Trump that sought to identify localities that permit “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.”
The Justice Department said the three cities were designated because they meet four main criteria, including “whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction” and whether the city “disempowers or defunds police departments.”
In Seattle, officials pointed to the “occupied” protest zone, also known as the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, though Seattle police officers wearing helmets and wielding batons and rifles, cleared the area by force on July 1.
In Portland, they pointed to 100 consecutive nights of protests “marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing” and in New York City, the Justice Department pointed to a skyrocketing number of shootings throughout the city's five boroughs.
Other states are taking a tougher stance.
Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new law to counter violent protests that have rocked the state and country, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Under the new law, anyone found guilty of throwing objects at police and law enforcement officers would be subject to a minimum six-month jail sentence. It also imposes felony penalties for protesters who block roadways, topple monuments or harass people.
“There’s going to be a ton of bricks raining down on you,” DeSantis said of protesters who break the law.
Florida, like many other states, has experienced weeks of protests that often turned into violent confrontations with police. Floyd's killing prompted some far-left activists to call for defunding the police.
The law would categorize violent protests and looting as third-degree felonies. Anyone arrested during protests would not be eligible for bail before their initial court hearing and anyone convicted from outside Florida would receive extra penalties. Furthermore, any municipality that tried to defund the police will not receive state funding.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Bradford Betz and Frank Miles contributed to this report.