ESPN is doing its part, but other companies can do better when it comes to hiring more Black and female sports writers.
That's the sentiment coming from the Worldwide Leader in Sports' president, John Skipper, who made his thoughts abundantly clear during Re/code's annual Code/Media conference Wednesday night.
“There is nothing more important in our culture right now than race relations,” Skipper said. “There is not enough Black media in this country. There is not enough Black-owned media in this country. There are not enough sites run by people of color.”
Skipper said ESPN is doing something about the latter via the impending launch of The Undefeated, a website that he says will key in on the “intersection of race, culture and sports."
“We are going to have a site run by people of color, by Black Americans who are going to curate the site,” he continued. “They’re going to create the content for that site.”
Skipper additionally declared that ESPN employs 74 of the country's 85 national sports writers who are either minorities or women, fueling the need for other companies in sports media to do their part as well.
“It’s social, it’s cultural, it’s ideological and it’s business,” Skipper said, referring to why it's important for sports media to diversify its voices. “African-Americans are a very important part of our constituency. They watch a lot of sports. And I believe that we have to be their home, and they have to believe that we represent their interests.”
Skipper imploring the sports media industry to diversify their staff is significant... but will it result in more hires of Black and women writers and other positions?
That remains to be seen.
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(Photo: Antonio Hernandez / ESPN Images)