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Study Finds ESPN Leading Sports Media’s Gender & Racial Diversification

“Sports media at large made little progress towards a more diverse workplace as white-male influences are still dominant.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: TIDES

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released a report card detailing race and gender among sports media recently for the first time since 2018. Dr. Richard Lapchick and his team at the University of Central Florida put together the report. Lapchick is the endowed chair at UCF’s Devos Sport Business Management Program.

Sports media at large made little progress towards a more diverse workplace as white, male influences are still dominant.

The 2021 Sports Media Racial and Gender Report Card: Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report Card showed minor improvements for the organization compared to 2018. APSE improved on its racial grade with a B-plus but still received an F in gender grade. 

“We need more women in this industry,” former APSE president Lisa Wilson said in an ESPN article. “We need those voices. We need that perspective. We need them making coverage and hiring decisions.”

Racial demographics showed a much larger improvement across the board in a few key areas. Something the Rainbow PUSH Coalition has been hard at work to change.

“The stories that are being told should reflect those on the field as well as the audiences that they reach,” The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said to ESPN. “Dr. Lapchick’s report indicates there has been some progress, but the sports media world is still overwhelmingly white and male.”

Lapchick noted that ESPN is a big driver in sports media’s racial and gender equity growth, so much so that removing ESPN from the equation massively impacts diversity across the industry. 

Removing ESPN from the study brings the total female percentage of sports editors from 16.7% to 13.5% and columnists from 17.8% to 13.8%. The same is true on the racial side of the equation.

Taking ESPN out of the data completely, means sports editors of color would decrease from 20.8% to 18.9%, assistant sports editors from 27.7% to 22.7%, columnists from 22.9% to 18.1%, reporters from 22.9% to 22.5%, and total staffs from 23.5% to 22.0%.

ESPN takes plenty of heat in sports media circles, but they deserve a lot of respect and acknowledgment for how they have tried to level the playing field with their gender and racial hiring practices. 

Check out the full report here.

Sports Online

Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”

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The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.

On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.

He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”

Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.

“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”

Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.

“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”

Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.

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Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider

“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”

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Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.

Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.

Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.

In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.

Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.

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Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong

“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”

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The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.

During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.

“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”

The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.

“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”

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