Like most of the articles on this site, let’s begin by looking at a tweet that got our attention.
If those numbers shock you, they shouldn’t. Think about it. How many sports reporters of color can you name? How many white reporters? How about BIPOC broadcasters?
For us at the Turf, these numbers hit hard for a very specific reason.
That’s us. Except our numbers are worse.
Over the last month and a half, we’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on our purpose as a participant in the world of sports reporting and commentary. And this tweet right here truly broke us.
We have failed. We have become part of the problem, and aided in the perpetuation of a systemically white space that writes predominantly about Black bodies.
That’s not okay. That needs to change.
With our continuously growing voice, we support Black Lives Matter. But by writing about it, as a vastly predominantly white staff, we’re only giving passive support. We’re not elevating Black voices.
While we’re proud of our voice and allyship, we’re also ashamed that the only Black writer for this site in 2020 has been a guest writing a one-time piece. We cannot continue to support the fight for racial injustice without the voices of those who live through them personally. And we simply cannot grow without a truly diverse and representative staff.
We have failed to live up to our tag line of “We Cover Everything” because the “We” has not been inclusive as it needs to be. As we turn to face the new era of our site, our country, and our collective consciousness, we want to do so as part of the solution.
With that said, effective immediately our leadership team will start by taking the following steps (this is by no mean’s an exhaustive list, but our very small starting point):
- Conducting an anti-racist workshop for The Turf Leadership and Turf Writers by bringing in an outside consultant.
- Committing to developing anti-racist policies out of that training and in consultation with professionals that all writers for The Turf will have to agree to and adhere to, to be reaffirmed every 6 months.
- Actively seeking out BIPOC writers and giving them the space to transform and inspire our writer’s room and its culture.
- Reimagining our submission process to encourage and include a wider range of perspectives.
- Challenging our decision-making that is informed by our own inherent biases and encouraging our team to continue to challenge us every step of the way.
- Acknowledge we have much to learn and unlearn in our own practices, and begin identifying new spaces to source writers to join our team.
We cannot claim to hold the rest of the athletic and sports journalism world accountable while we hypocritically don’t do the same to ourselves. It’s easy to point fingers at others and state platitudes and call that action. We are committing ourselves to more.
Justin Colombo, Editor-In-Chief
Ned Donovan, Developmental Director
Kevin Michael Morin, Managing Editor
If anyone has questions, comments, or would like to talk more about this, reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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