All Articles Tagged "ESPN"
Brittney Griner To Be First Openly Gay Athlete To Sign With Nike–And She’ll Be Modeling Men’s Apparel
Brittney Griner, the former First Team All-American center for Baylor and now the 1st overall draft pick for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, is having a great year. And it’s definitely getting better as it has been confirmed that she has signed a deal with Nike, making her the first openly gay athlete to sign with the company. What also makes her new business venture all the more unique is that her contract will actually allow her to wear and model men’s apparel for the sports brand. It all makes sense considering it has been a long time since anybody, including Griner herself, has seen the star athlete in women’s apparel. As the Houston Chronicle put it: “The contract reflects Griner’s personal style and her discomfort with traditional women’s fashion.”
In the ESPN cover story on Griner’s life, the partnership was confirmed by Nike spokesman Brian Strong, and the writer, Kate Fagan discussed androgyny and the need for the Nikes, Reeboks, Adidas and other big sports apparel companies to step up and start appealing to the “gender fluid” crowd:
“No sports apparel company has taken it a step further and expressly targeted the gender-fluid crowd — and whether Nike is willing to ride the edge with Griner remains to be seen. ‘We can’t get into specifics,” says Nike spokesman Brian Strong, “but it’s safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold.’”
In that same cover story, Griner discussed her affinity for men’s clothes:
“When Griner goes shopping, she often looks for clothes in the men’s section. People will say, “Hey, you’re in the wrong place.” But as she explains, “It’s what I feel comfortable in. It’s my dress identity.” She tells a story from when she was younger: “I remember my mom doing my laundry, and my dad being like, ‘Whose boxers are these?’ And I said, ‘They’re mine’ [raises hand slowly]. I’ve always been totally out there — just on a limb.”
Despite what apparel she puts on for the brand, it’s definitely a great move for her and she’ll be representing for people like her who need to see a confident lesbian woman comfortable with herself and ready to do things her way at all times: “I am 100-percent happy. When I was at Baylor, I wasn’t fully happy because I couldn’t be all the way out. It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, black lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better.” Kudos to you, boo.
“Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts will publish a memoir in 2014 with Grand Central, the publisher announced Wednesday.
The book, which is not yet titled, will include Roberts’ story of her battle with MDS. The disease affects bone marrow and the creation of new blood cells.
“I am humbled that many have an interest, and draw strength from my ongoing journey,” Roberts said. “I’m grateful for the prayers and well wishes of so many people. I’m thrilled that Jamie Raab and Grand Central Publishing will help me tell my story.”.
Read more at EurWeb.com
For 40th Anniversary Of Title IX, ESPN Doing “Nine For IX” Documentaries On Women In Sports, Including Ava DuVernay’s “Venus VS.”
For years, I’ve been a massive fan of most ESPN documentaries (I don’t think there’s one I’ve seen that I haven’t enjoyed), including the very creative “30 for 30″ docs, which give many up and coming and little known but exceptional directors the chance to show their talents and tell stories from a different yet immensely deep angle. Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about the new “Nine for IX” series, an ode to the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the civil rights law of ’72 that “requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding,” according to the Title IX website. It has allowed young women everywhere to have the opportunity to play the sports of their choice, obtain higher education through these opportunities, employment and more. The nine films will be directed by women, and Robin Roberts, anchor for Good Morning America, is an executive producer for the project.
Among the nine films are a few big notables centered around black women, including Venus VS., by Middle of Nowhere director, Ava DuVernay. The film chronicles Williams’ choice to challenge the fact that female tennis players were being paid less than the males for huge tournaments like Wimbledon and the French Open, and her battle, which she won, made her the first women’s champion (during her win in 2007) to take home the same reward money as men’s winner Roger Federer.
DuVernay put out a statement about the film and to speak on the little-known impact of Williams in this particular equal earnings fight:
Venus is a superior athlete, a legend; but she is also an activist who revolutionized her sport off the court with her fight for prize equality. I don’t believe this story should be relegated to dusty history books and UK newspapers. People in the United States should know of her true professional bravery and personal tenacity in making sure women athletes are regarded and rewarded on par with their male counterparts. This is my mission.
Another great feature during the “Nine for IX” series will be Swoopes, a doc on the life of WNBA icon Sheryl Swoopes, as she has “defied a multitude of labels.” And Shola Lynch is behind the documentary, Runner, about Mary Decker. Of course, Decker had her Olympic moment stolen in the worst of ways when she collided with a fellow runner after being thought as being in the forefront for the gold medal in the 3,000m final during the ’84 Olympics.
But these of course are just a few of the documentaries ESPN is offering. You can check out the full lineup here. Starting on July 2, ESPN will debut the films, beginning with Venus Vs., and they will air until August 27. Check out the preview video for all nine films below!
Will you be watching?
Well, it was good while it lasted. I guess. Maybe.
The NY Daily News is reporting that radio personality Tom Joyner and his wife, fitness guru and ESPN correspondent Donna Richardson, are no longer together. A source has told them that Joyner and Richardson split up weeks ago in a “mutual but not exactly amicable” decision. They’ve been married for 12 years.
The source also added that there were “outside parties” involved which lends to this divorce. One can only assume that “outside parties” are another man or woman, suggesting that there was infidelity. This could get ugly, folks.
Unfortunately, I’m not able to hear the Tom Joyner Morning Show where I live anymore but I’d heard that he hadn’t been mentioning Donna’s name on the show as often as he used to. At one point, Tom would add a “You know, Donna and I…” to just about every sentence. They’ve always come across as a really good couple so it is unfortunate to hear that it has come down to this.
The couple have no children and neither Tom’s nor Donna’s reps returned calls or emails from the Daily News.
Did you think they’d make it or were you one of the people who didn’t really see how the two of them got together in the first place?
A lot of people have gone Lin-sane lately, and it’s not just sports fans. Of course New Yorkers and those who support the Knicks are grateful for what Jeremy Lin’s athletic prowess has brought to the team, but others who are watching the social commentary time clock say the recent scandal surrounding racist terms used in reference to the Chinese American basketball player serve as a teaching moment for the black community.
With the good there always comes some bad, and unfortunately when the Knick’s lost their first game under Lin’s reign, we saw the bad come out of a writer and a news anchor who alluded to the loss as a “chink in the armor.” The dismissed writer who created the offensive headline insists the use of the racial slur was an honest mistake, while the suspended anchor said his offense was unintentional. Regardless, ESPN took action against both. But what do racial slurs used against an Asian man have to do with black people? Let sports commentator Stephen A. Smith tell it, our hypersensitivity to racism has paved the way for incidents like this. On an episode of ESPN first take, he said:
“The black community has to recognize that we share a level of culpability in any kind of incident like that that transpires because the heightened sensitivity that exists in our society today we have a lot to do with.
“That heightened level of sensitivity has had a contagious effect on other communities so suddenly everybody is sensitive because their saying, ‘well if the black community gets to be sensitive about anything that may be perceived as racist what about what I find racist.’ Then you have people from the white community saying, ‘wait a minute, what about what we find offensive,’ and then the Hispanic community, ‘what about what we find offensive,’ now you have folks from the Asian community saying, ‘what about what we find offensive,’ and the list goes on and on…. And here’s what happens, we’re in an unforgiving society now…
“You have to get to a point where you don’t erase what you’re sensitive to but you have to be forgiving from the standpoint that if somebody apologizes genuinely, let’s try to be a bit more forgiving because if we’re not, other people aren’t going to be so forgiving when something goes down with us—whether its other ethnic groups or the homosexual community.”
Sounds like a Roland Martin reference. While I agree that black people ought to use the R word sparingly, are we really to blame for the disciplinary action taken toward these careless employees? I will say there seems to be a growing trend of calling for immediate dismissals of writers, commentators, etc. who cross the racial lines, and employers are no longer willing to take a chance and wait for backlash before implementing immediate disciplinary action against offenders. But rather than these calls for action having to do with a lack of compassion, as Stephen Smith suggests, I think they are more so an example of people who are tired of racial attacks being swept under the rug.
About This Episode
Karine Méhu is proof that sometimes you really can have it all. As the Director of Digital Marketing at ESPN, Ms. Méhu oversees the creation and implementation of ideas that must be as practical as they are creative. ESPN’s advertisers depend on her to execute campaigns that capture consumers’ attention and spending money.
This dedicated young professional gets up at 4 am everyday and is somehow finding the time to plan her wedding even as she racks up professional accolades and puts in long hours at a job she loves. Soak up some of her career wisdom and find out why she’s the boss!
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(New York Times) — Does this look right? Mark Jackson is an ABC analyst for the N.B.A. finals and the coach of the Golden State Warriors. Can one man do that? Should he? Shouldn’t there be a panel of wise men to decide this? In March, the Fox News Channel took Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum off its air because of the likelihood that they would run for president, as they eventually did. But that’s politics. Jackson as a coach-analyst is just sports. Just the way things are. Jackson was hired by Golden State before Game 4 of the Dallas-Miami series. At most, his tenure on ABC will last through Game 7. So why not keep him around for more of LeBron and Dirk and Dwyane and Kidd?
(Kansas City Star) — The emphasis on sports tends to obscure this fact, but ESPN is also a huge consumer of music. In fact, music has grown into a crucial underpinning of the Bristol-based company’s televised sports empire. It’s the soundtrack to game coverage, highlight reels, news shows and more, and the cable network uses music-themed contests, full-album streams, promotions and live chats with artists to attract viewers to its website. ”Music is in everything we do,” says Claude Mitchell, the company’s coordinating director of music.. “You can’t watch a show on ESPN without hearing a piece of music.” With such a large and continual appetite for music, ESPN has increasingly become an alternate way for bands to reach fans in an era of declining record sales and narrowing radio playlists. Landing a song on ESPN can have a real impact, musicians say, a claim backed by sales figures. There are plenty of opportunities for exposure. Although the cable giant commissions some original music for theme songs, ESPN pays to license about 70 percent of the music it uses, a process overseen by Mitchell, music director Kevin Wilson and a team of 10 subordinates at the company’s Bristol campus.
(Chicago Now) — Winter has held on to Chicago like your big brother’s headlock. The weather finally breaks on a Tuesday, the morning I sit down to talk to ESPN columnist and on-air personality Scoop Jackson. I meet Scoop at Valois, a historic diner in the diverse Hyde Park neighborhood here in Chicago. Scoop is sporting his trademark black rim glasses in sporty hip hop gear. After scarfing down french toast, eggs, and turkey sausage, Scoop and I discuss a wide range of topics, from his background, his experience at ESPN, race and the business of sports, and his thougts on athletes using Twitter undermining collective bargaining agreements.
(Fast Company) — Microsoft is reportedly spending about $100 million (a low estimate, an industry source tells me) marketing Bing, the only formidable competitor to Google left in the search-engine game. Loads of that cash is heading toward the myriad “search overload” commercials you’ve likely seen. The company also invested tons in a generous cashback rewards program. It launched innovative advertising partnerships with Jay-Z and theSundance Film Festival. And on Monday, Microsoft announced that it’s teaming with ESPN for a feature football series leading up to the Super Bowl.