All Articles Tagged "ESPN"

Sincere Or Shady? Ray Rice Wants To Raise Awareness For Domestic Violence

November 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Nobody in the NFL wants to touch Ray Rice. While other athletes like footballer Greg Hardy and soccer player Hope Solo’s abusive pasts have been forgotten, Rice is something like a pariah. Still, the former running back hasn’t given up his dreams of working with the league, in one way or the other.

On Sunday, on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Rice said that if he didn’t get a second chance to play again, he would like to partner with the NFL to raising awareness about domestic violence.

ESPN asked Rice what he thought about other athletes being allowed to continue playing their respective sports. He said that could only speak to his case and he did acknowledge that the video footage of the incident left an indelible impression.

“I totally understand what my visual did and the effect it had on society and the survivors of domestic violence. So, for me, to never be forgiven … I understand those things, and I totally take full responsibility for my actions. The one thing I can say is … I have made a lifelong decision to raising awareness about this.”

Rice also spoke about the shift in his potential legacy.

“I used to have a situation where kids were like, ‘I wanna be like Ray Rice.’ And now I have to think about kids and parents saying, ‘I don’t want you to be like Ray Rice.’ And that haunts me.”

After he completed a pretrial intervention program, the domestic violence charge against Ray Rice was dropped. Still, with this season nearing its halfway point, it’s unlikely that he’ll be returning, particularly since he hasn’t had been offered an official tryout.

Rice continues to train in case he does receive the opportunity and said he would love to speak to younger players about not making the same mistakes he did. He believes working with the NFL would expand his reach.

“I think the NFL has such a huge platform and I’ve seen the platform I had when I was playing, when I would go out and help people. I go out now, and I don’t have an NFL platform, but I’m going out there and helping people out. So if I never played a down again, why not see if I could use their platform to go out there and help make a difference…Young rookies, anybody in college … I want to be able to spread all of my experiences to help other people, to make them understand that domestic violence is not OK, not even one time.”

I’m so conflicted by this story.

I’ve always believed Ray Rice should have the opportunity to play football again after successful completion of one of the intervention programs. Still, a part of me always questions the motivation behind his interviews. And sadly, this one was no different. I can never be sure he says what he does because he wants the NFL to let him back into their good graces or because he’s truly repentant and wants to work to right his wrongs. I’m not sure what work he’s been doing to raise domestic violence awareness, but the announcement that this is now your lifelong mission seems a little self-serving to me. Perhaps, it’s too much to assume Rice would just do the work and allow other people to take notice.

Still, when other athletes with similar infractions are allowed to play again, he certainly should be given the same opportunity. The NFL is hypocritical. Had this video not been leaked to the public, he would have received the two game suspension and would still be playing with the Ravens today. At the end of the day, this is what this is really about. The league believes he’s too much of a liability, not that they stand with and support domestic violence victims and survivors. There are no angels here. The NFL has been turning a blind eye to incidents of violence and even deaths for years. Ray Rice was just happened to be the lone scapegoat.

What do you think about Ray Rice’s comments? Do they seem sincere to you? Do you think he should be allowed to continue playing?

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dies At 49

January 4th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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IMG SRC:Twitter

IMG SRC:Twitter

It absolutely breaks our hearts to report ESPN anchor Stuart Scott has passed away. Scott lost his battle with cancer this morning.

The anchor, known for his catch phrases and personality, was a staple at ESPN for 21 years. Stuart was one of ESPN’s most beloved anchors. He had a knack for making you feel at home when you watched him and served as an inspiration to little brown children watching. His death is a huge loss to the sports world.

In a lengthy statement, ESPN said,

Stuart Scott, a dedicated family man and one of ESPN’s signature SportsCenter anchors, has died after a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer. He was 49.

Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15; his parents, O. Ray and Jacqueline Scott; and his three siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney, Susan Scott and their families. His girlfriend, Kristin Spodobalski, was with Stuart and cared for him every step of the way and along with support from his loving family, close friends and colleagues, he went through several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and clinical trials to stay strong and ward off cancer for as long as humanly possible.

“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set? His energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”

On July 16, 2014, Scott accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs. During his speech, he expressed the following sentiment about his two daughters: “Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express. You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you.”

During his ESPY speech, Scott shared his approach to fighting cancer. “I also realized something else recently,” he said. “I said, I’m not losing. I’m still here. I’m fighting. I’m not losing. But I’ve got to amend that. When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell.”

For 21 years, years Scott was one of ESPN’s and ABC Sports’ most recognizable and quotable personalities and one of the most popular sportscasters around the world. His catchphrases, including his most famous “Boo-ya” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” have become an integral part of pop culture. While Scott became instantly known for his enthusiasm and colorful descriptions, he was always proud of the facts he would weave into his storytelling, recognizing that every great story is based in fact.

After joining the network in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2, Scott became a leading voice on ESPN’s SportsCenter, where he anchored the 11pm show. Over the years, his talent and work ethic led to many additional high-profile assignments including major hosting roles on NFL and NBA programming. During his career with ESPN, Scott covered a slew of major events, including the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series, the NCAA Final Four and more.

From 2007-2011 Scott was the host of ABC Sports’ weekly NBA Sunday studio show, ESPN’s NBA studio show, and served as a host during the NBA Finals Trophy presentation each year. Scott also hosted numerous ESPN and ABC series and specials, including Dream Job, Stump The Schwab, ESPN’s 25th Anniversary Special, and The ESPY Red Carpet Show.

In addition to this busy TV schedule, Scott had also worked as a regular contributor to ESPN: The Magazine, ESPN Radio, and

Scott was featured in countless This is SportsCenter commercials, which he so enjoyed.

Most recently, Scott was in the anchor chair alongside his longtime partner, Steve Levy, when ESPN re-launched SportsCenter on a new set.

Scott not only interviewed most of the world’s top athletes, he interviewed top celebrities, newsmakers, and politicians. Stuart interviewed and played a televised game of one-on-one basketball with President Barack Obama, one of his two interviews with the President, and conducted numerous one-on-one interviews with the likes of Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Denzel Washington and President Clinton.

Hollywood and Madison Avenue also took notice of Scott’s wide appeal; he was featured in numerous high-profile commercial campaigns. He appeared on many TV shows, sitcoms, feature films and music videos and was parodied in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Over the years, Scott earned numerous awards and honors. He was recently honored with the NABJ Award of Merit, received a Rammy Award which pays tribute to superlative performances in athletics, academics and sports from his beloved alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill, and was a guest of honor at the 14th annual “An Evening with Heroes” celebration in Indianapolis, which benefits the Heroes Foundation. In 2011 he was honored by The V Foundation with “The Spirit of Jimmy V Award.” He was instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for The V Foundation, Livestrong, and participated in Stand Up To Cancer campaigns as well donating time to raise awareness and funds for numerous other charities.

He always said a personal and professional highlight for him came in 2004, when he was requested by U.S. soldiers to be a part of “ESPN’s SportsCenter: Salute the Troops” effort, in which he and fellow anchors hosted a week of programs originating in Kuwait.

Prior to joining ESPN, Scott worked at local stations in Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina and Florence, South Carolina. He was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1987. One of his proudest moments came when he served as the commencement speaker at his alma mater in 2001.

At North Carolina he played wide receiver and defensive back for a club football team.

He was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007, and dealt with recurring bouts of the disease. He met the challenge as he did everything in his life – with determination, a courageous fighting spirit and an always positive attitude that impacted and inspired everyone who knew him.

Please watch this beautiful speech made by Stuart at the 2014 ESPY Awards.

Nicki Minaj Appears On ESPN’s Sportscenter

December 14th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Nicki Minaj’s  The Pinkprint press tour is in full affect.

Last weekend we reported she performed and starred in several skits on Saturday Night Live. Now the rapper has also appeared on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” During the show, Nicki showed off her touchdown celebration dance and debuted her new song “Win Again.”

The appearance also featured Nicki reciting Allen Iverson’s famous “Are we talking about practice??!” rant. As for her thoughts on The PinkPrint, she stated, “It’s really emotional love stories and it’s all these amazing things that I’ve been going through for the last year, put on one album,”

If you missed Nicki on ESPN or SNL, you can catch her on The Ellen DeGeneres show this Monday. Nicki and Ellen have become known for their infamous interviews. In the meantime, check her our on ESPN.

“I’m T. Jefferson And She’s My Slave” Comedian Tweets Sexual & Racist Jokes To ESPN’s Cari Champion

November 6th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Comedian Tweets Sexual & Racist Jokes To Cari Champion

You don’t have to be a woman on the street to be harassed. And now, thanks to the internet and social media, you don’t even have to work with your harasser to be targeted.

Just ask Cari Champion, of ESPN’s “First Take.”

Yesterday, while she was at work just doing her job, comedian Artie Lange was tweeting away. What started as an appreciation for Champion’s looks quickly escalated into a disgusting, hyper-sexualized, racially charged fantasy, in the guise of a joke. And Lange decided to share it with all of his Twitter followers.

Here’s what he wrote.

Comedian Tweets Sexual & Racist Jokes To Cari Champion

Source: Twitter

Comedian Tweets Sexual & Racist Jokes To Cari Champion

Source: Twitter

Amy DuBois Barnett Becomes Executive Editor At New ESPN Site

August 7th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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amy barnett

ESPN Digital & Print Media announced today, Amy Barnett will join their company as the Executive Editor of Jason Whitlock’s new site, which will feature commentary on sports and culture news targeted for an African-American audience. Barnett’s role will be to regulate editorial operations for the site. Whitlock, who will serve as Barnett’s supervisor, says of  employing Barnett for the role: “Amy’s impressive resume across a wide range of publications and brands, as well as her leadership experience, will ensure that the site will be at the forefront of news and commentary relevant to African-Americans. Together, we aim to serve audiences with quality and innovative journalism when the site debuts.”

Barnett led the redesign Ebony magazine and relaunched its website Prior to Ebony, Barnett served as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, served as the Managing Editor of Teen People and also worked at Honey and Essence magazine.

This past spring MadameNoire interviewed Barnett; she spoke to us about leaving Ebony magazine in high regard and how she helped  pay it forward to a past coworker. At the time we wrote:

Barnett’s willingness to talk about a magazine she no longer works for is interesting, but can best be explained by the high esteem in which she holds both the publication and its new EIC. Barnett hired Miller years ago when she was editor of Honey magazine. “I have watched her grow into a smart, unique voice,” Barnett said. And she says it’s great to “pass the torch” to Miller at Ebony, who she wishes “nothing but tremendous success.”

After leaving Ebony, Barnett became an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University. She taught, “The Shifting Business Framework in Media and Entertainment” at NU’s Kellogg School of Management. As a Brown and Columbia University alumnae, we are sure Barnett will set the latest media trends at ESPN with her new position.

Congratulations  Amy!

A White Woman Didn’t Get Stephen A. Smith In Trouble; His Mouth Did

August 1st, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Derrick Salters/

Derrick Salters/

Well we’ve finally solved the mystery of who told Harpo to beat Sophia?

It was Stephen A Smith.

No, I’m kidding. This is what he actually said in his commentary about the Ray Rice suspension (according to this transcript from The Talking Points Memo):

I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to try to make sure it doesn’t happen … but at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation,” he added. “Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them. Because we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying.”

Well, I will say that Smith is pretty consistent in his victim blaming. Back in March of this year, he was the lead scout in the cavalry to save Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who believes that everybody is a little bit racist and, in particular, are scared of Black men in hoodies. I mean, it’s only natural to be, right?

Back then, he didn’t “give a damn what Black Twitter had to say and told us old time-y black folks we needed to chill because Cuban also mentioned some other prejudices he had against other “others” too. So you kind of expected him to hold the same level of ferocity when Michelle Beadle, co-host of SportsNation of ESPN 2, checked him via Twitter for his pretty foolish domestic violence victim blaming comments.

Instead he got all apologetic and accepting of his week-long suspension – even wishing the Twitterverse a heavenly “God Bless!” Now I’m not trying to say that Smith ended up looking like a flip-flopping, kowtowing shook one, but that’s what Kermit said…

And thank goodness the White woman did care enough to say something on behalf of Ray Rice’s wife, which last I’d recall was a Black woman, and check what are largely inaccuracies. A Black woman, who Smith had just got finished violating again (with his inaccuracies), after she had already been violated by her boyfriend/turned husband and by the Ravens organization in general.

Unlike what Smith believes, women needing to contemplate all they have to do “to try to prevent the situation from happening” has been “broached” before in our national dialogues around intimate partner violence – most times it has been “broached” to death In fact, these conversations about how women should go about not “provoking” our own victimizations has been drilled into the heads of little girls and women everywhere since we were old enough to be left alone with our first male relatives. We are taught about the dangers of our mini-skirts and how that is going to get us raped. We are taught about the dangers of drinking alcohol and how that is going to get us raped. We are taught to stick with friends in bright and crowded places, to avoid ponytails, buy special underwear and other anti-rape paraphernalia, scream “no” as loud and as long as we can – but not too loud because dudes hate it when you talk to much, stop dating thugs, being golddiggers and a whole host of other things, which are supposed to not “provoke” our getting raped or beat up.

The problem is that whenever we “broach” the single golden ways men can do to prevent crimes against women – and that is “don’t do it” – that’s when folks – mostly men but a few women-hating women too (I see you Whoopi), will start pulling out their Smokey the Bear-hat and reminding women again that it is up to them to prevent forest fires.

And yet in spite of all that teaching of women how to stop getting in the way of those flying fists and loose penises, the US Department of Health and Human Services, says that even to this day, between 85 to 90 percent of domestic violence victims are female. Likewise, domestic violence constitutes 22 percent of violent crime against females and 3 percent of violent crime against males. And even more startling, 70 percent of intimate homicide victims are female, and females are twice as likely to be killed by their husbands or boyfriends than murdered by strangers.

Perhaps the womenfolks are just not listening and doing enough to prevent stuff from happening to them. But according to the DHHS:

Some people believe domestic violence occurs because the victim provokes the abuser to violent action, while others believe the abuser simply has a problem managing anger. In fact, the roots of domestic violence can be attributed to a variety of cultural, social, economic, and psychological factors.49 As a learned behavior, domestic violence is modeled by individuals, institutions, and society, which may influence the perspectives of children and adults regarding its acceptability. Abusive and violent behaviors can be learned through: Childhood observations of domestic violence; One’s experience of victimization; Exposure to community, school, or peer group violence; Living in a culture of violence (e.g., violent movies or videogames, community norms, and cultural beliefs).50”

Learned behavior. The kind that says, boys will be boys. The kind that teaches our children that the onus for all violent acts against women are women themselves. The kind that would like to conflate straw man arguments about these exceptional Amazonian women capable of inflicting physical harm with her bare hands and mighty spit, who runs up on dudes and phone checking them for their manhoods than what the reality is: some of y’all got issues.

It’s funny how Smith, along with the supporters of this “provocation” doctrine as an justification for the right to abuse women, usually are eerily silent when discussions around violence against Black men happen. There was no talk about whether Black men should start hitting back when those Staten Island cops allegedly choked Eric Garner to death or how the Jersey cop killer’s widow might have had a point – none of those eye for an eye advocates dared touch that one. Funny how many of these burly tough guys, who are so easily provoked into violence at their own alleged injustice can’t be moved to “treat like men” all the knuckleheads in the community, who rape and pillage. But there are plenty of marching and pontificating behind podiums with petitions and calls to stop the violence though.

And even Smith, who never backs down from his own Bill Cosby-esque sass and provocation of the black community and Black women, suddenly submits, when his own livelihood is at stake. Now he understands self-control.


Stephen A. Smith Suspended For One Week Over Ray Rice Comments

July 29th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Derrick Salters/

Derrick Salters/

Apparently, ESPN is taking a stronger stance against domestic violence than the NFL. Last week Stephen A. Smith made some pretty flagrant comments about women provoking domestic violence. After defending the comments for a while not only on his show “First Take” but also on Twitter, Smith finally felt the strong arm of the network and eventually apologized. First on Twitter and then on air.

Initially, the network said that they found his apology to be sufficient:

“We will continue to have constructive dialogue on this important topic. Stephen’s comments last Friday do not reflect our company’s point of view. As his apology demonstrates, he recognizes his mistakes and has a deeper appreciation of our company values.”

But they released this updated statement today:

“ESPN announced today that Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week. He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

I know many of you, our readers, and even some of the MN editors don’t think Smith’s comments were that offensive. That women shouldn’t put their hands on men. I certainly agree with that sentiment. No one should attack anyone else, ever but especially in the context of a relationship. I agree with Smith on that end.

But personally, I think the suspension is warranted. Given Smith’s comments about T.I. and Tiny and their drama and now this one about Ray Rice and Janay Palmer, it’s clear that his sensitivity to women’s issues is a bit off. And I don’t think it’s such a bad idea that he sit on the bench for a minute and think about the gravity of his words. I don’t believe they have a place in this particular discussion. Not only is the notion that Palmer hit Rice all speculation–because there’s no footage of her hitting him– it sends the very dangerous message that a man can somehow be justly provoked to knock a woman unconscious and drag her body around like a piece of trash.

Back To The Court: Lamar Odom Signs Contract To Play Ball In Spain

February 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Lamar Odom Signs Contract To Play Ball In Spain

Source: WENN

Is Lamar Odom something like the cat with 9 lives, or what?! After alleged drug and alcohol addictions, people are still willing to give the brother a chance. According to ESPN, Laboral Kutxa, a Spanish basketball team, announced that they’ve reached an agreement with the 34 year old former Laker. Odom has signed a two month contract with the option to extend it to the remainder of the season.

He comes to the team filling a roster spot that opened due to an injury.

ESPN reports that these types of deals usually contain clauses that leave room for veterans to return to the NBA if the opportunity presents itself. But sources claim Lamar’s plan is to play out the entire season before determining whether or not he wants to come back to the NBA.

Odom could make his Laboral Kutxa debut as early as this Saturday against Valladolid. Laboral Kutxa is ninth in the 18 team Spanish league and last in the Euroleague group.

Laboral president, Josean Querejeta said in a statement, “We’re very happy to have signed a very important player who has had a long and fruitful career in the NBA. We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of days to make this happen, we felt we needed a boost and had to break the collective cloud that has been hanging over us over the last while so we could get back to winning.”

Lord knows we wish Lamar the best and hope he is able to find some type of peace and whatever healing he may need on the court, over there in Spain.

You Know Michael Sam But Not Sasha Menu Courey. Were Her Rape & Death Ignored?

February 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: University of Missouri Athletic Department

Source: University of Missouri Athletic Department

When you tell people you work for a black women’s website, they love to share the stories they think you should cover. Some of them are terrible and would never work and some of them fit perfectly in line with what we are trying to do here. This was the case last month when my sister’s friend Brittany sent me a link about Sasha Menu Courey. Sasha was a woman of color, a swimmer who attended the same college as I did: the University of Missouri. We affectionately call the school Mizzou. Sasha and I were on the campus at the same time; but to the best of my knowledge I never got to meet her. I’ll always remember Mizzou fondly. As the place where I met some of my best friends, learned about myself and learned the skills I would need to survive at my job and in the world. I love Mizzou.  But for Sasha the experience was different. Though her journals and testimony from close friends seem to suggest that Sasha loved our school, something happened to her during her time there that perhaps changed the rest of her life.

Sasha, a Toronto native, was raped while she was a student at Mizzou. And presumably the aftermath of the rape and other subsequent events led her to take her own life 16 months later. She was 20 years old. It was tragic. And what made a terrible situation that much worse is that though several university officials knew about the rape, evidence suggests that the University, my university, didn’t report or investigate.  I read the story and naturally was immediately saddened that this had happened first to Sasha and then secondly that nothing had been done to address it. This was a terrible story that had largely been underreported and it pained me…for about 20 minutes. And then like Mizzou, I forgot about her.

Two weeks later, the story of Micheal Sam, the gay NFL prospect came out and Mizzou was being celebrated in the media for “producing” a star athlete and also providing an environment where a black, gay man felt comfortable to come and live “out.” I knew our campus was pretty progressive when it came to LGBTQ issues, especially since Missouri can be quite conservative and has a long history of being flat out racist. But that’s a story for another day. The notoriety and praise that the university was receiving because of Sam’s announcement felt a little one sided. And I couldn’t really put my finger on why. And then I remembered Sasha. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” conducted a six month investigation into Sasha’s story, interviewing school officials, medical professionals and consulting Sasha’s own journals to obtain the information you’ll read in this story.

And in an effort to tell her story, to hold my beloved university accountable and maybe inspire someone in her situation to step forward, I’m passing it on to you.

Sasha Menu Courey was a sprinter and relay specialist on the university’s swim team from 2009-2011. A Toronto native, she had been recruited by Mizzou and several other schools to compete. She was given a near-full scholarship. Before Sasha had come to Mizzou, at the age of 16 she had attempted suicide after a breakup with a high school boyfriend. She took several Tylenol before calling the ambulance. The incident was written off as teenage angst and she stopped counseling shortly afterward.  Once she got to Mizzou, she was a straight A student and was named Student Athlete of the Week during her sophomore year.

Then in February of 2010, after a night of drinking Menu Courey went back to Gil Moye, a male friend’s apartment where the two had consensual sex. Afterward Menu Courey believed she was raped by another man. She described the incident to a rape counselor. Here is her word for word account of the incident obtained from her school records.

“[We] were falling asleep & then i heard the [door] open & some other guy walked in & locked the door & i couldnt really see who it was & i never saw a face the whole time…. but i remember just sitting upright in bed at the sound of someone walking in. & i just remember feeling really scared thinking that the two guys had planned this or something. so my first thought was figure out who this other person was in case so that if i needed the informaton i would have it later… the guy told me his name & then he pulled down his pants & put on a condom & just knew i was screwed …”

Menu Courey went on to describe the assault in detail, mentioning that she tried to reach a friend and former boyfriend on the phone during the assault:

“… I started to panick & as i still on the phone trying to reach one of them tears start going down & the guy just lift up my dress & next thing i knew he inserts from behind. by that point tears were falling more but i wasnt loud & didnt anything. and then i just snapped and kind pushed him away & yelled no! and then he just left.

Two Women Forge Career Paths In The Male-Dominated World Of Sports Journalism

December 10th, 2013 - By Priscilla Ward
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Kayla Johnson (left) and Talaya Wilkins

Kayla Johnson (left) and Talaya Wilkins

“Leaning in” and adding value to the conversation is essential to getting ahead in your career, whether you have worked for a company for a while or you are a rookie. Being bold and fearless is particularly important in the male-dominated industry of sports journalism.

ESPN production assistant Kayla Johnson and associate producer Talaya Wilkins are providing support to one another as they make their presence known at ESPN. Johnson and Wilkins both grew up playing sports. Out of this love, they developed career interests in sports journalism. They are proving that women know what they are talking about in the world of sports beyond cheering from the sidelines.

“Keeping yourself relevant, being vocal in meetings and challenging your male counterparts is all a part of the game,” says Wilkins. She has worked at ESPN for the last seven years. When Wilkins first started at ESPN she could count on her fingers how many African-American women worked in her department.

“We see each other everywhere so I admire the growth… something to be proud of,” Wilkins says, noting the mentor relationship she has with Johnson.

Johnson graduated from Stetson University in May with her degree in Media and Communication studies, and a minor in Sports Management and Journalism. She did not wait to jump start her career. Wilkins is giving Johnson the extra push needed to move her career along, from entry-level “tasker” to someone called on for specific projects. As a production assistant, Johnson does content screening, reformatting and cutting highlights for Sports Center. She is the daughter of former NFL player Tim Johnson and grew up around a culture of athleticism, playing high school basketball. She knew that she was most passionate about sports, writing and loved speaking to people. Pursuing sports journalism only made sense.

“I’ve taken her under my wing so to speak and encouraged her on ways stay ahead of the game… It’s always a challenge not to get lost in the shuffle competing with so many others so I try to advice when I can,” Wilkins says.

According to a 2012 study released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 90 percent of sports editors are white and the same percentage are men. Whites make up at least 86 percent of all assistant editors, columnists, reporters and copy editors covering sports too. At least 80 percent of those in each category are men.

“In three to five years I see myself producing a show and beginning to develop my own shows or working as a reporter for,” Johnson said. In February, she will have the opportunity to work on a project she’s passionate about, College Women’s Basketball.