Disparities for women of color in sports journalism
May 5, 2022
For centuries, women of color have been faced with a battle for racial and gender equality. Especially female athletes of color, like Naomi Osaka and Sha’Carri Richardson, who’ve dealt with immense inequalities on the basis of their skin color.
“There still needs to be more opportunities for Black women, Latina women, Asian women, and all women of color,” Burke said.
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) has conducted many studies on sports organizations’ efforts to encourage diversity and their success. One of their most recent studies is the 2021 Sports Media Racial and Gender Report Card: Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report Card. The report card includes information gathered from over 100 newspapers and websites covering sports.
According to TIDES, 14.4% of sports reporters are women, and of that 14.4%, around 28% are women of color. Females of color are highly underrepresented in this field, especially in relativity to the fact that women of color make up 50.8% of the female population in the United States.
“They’re dealing with the intersection of not just sexism, but racism as well,” Burke said
In efforts to create more diversity, a policy named Affirmative Action was formed.
According to Cornell Law School, Affirmative Action creates better opportunities for underrepresented groups in society, including women and people of color. The policy is enforced on employers to ensure equal opportunity for recruitment, selection, advancement, and every other term and privilege associated with employment.
Despite its efforts, the implementation of Affirmative Action has been used as a punchline to denote the accomplishments of minorities in sports journalism.
“Stop embarrassing yourself and pretending to actually know anything about male sports,” wrote Charles Brown in an email to ESPN analyst Mina Kimes. “The only reason you’re at ESPN is due to affirmative action.”
Kimes is an award-winning Korean American journalist. She is a senior writer, podcast host, and television contributor for ESPN and is their only female NFL analyst. Her work has touched the lives of many Asian Americans and women of color alike.
“They’re excited to see themselves on TV and excited to see themselves represented in a way that’s different,” Kimes said on “With Friends Like These.”
Like Kimes, Malika, and Kendra Andrews, Black sister reporters for ESPN, are changing the game. Malika Andrews hosts NBA Today, while Kendra Andrews is a writer and reporter for the Golden State Warriors.
The Andrews sisters have made the most of their limited opportunities in the sports journalism industry and have broken barriers by becoming ESPN’s only pair of sister broadcasters.
Jessica Mendoza is also inspiring the future generation of women. Mendoza is a Puerto Rican American broadcaster who is ESPN’s first female MLB analyst and the first woman to serve as an analyst for a nationally-televised MLB game.
Her hiring has been controversial, and her transition into color commentating for MLB games faced disapproval and negativity.
“Jessica Mendoza is the worst baseball announcer who has ever announced the game of baseball,” said Mike North on “Fox Sports Daybreak.” “If she was a man, she’d be [fired].”
Women of color, especially those who work in sports journalism, are met with criticism that often stems from their ethnicity or gender, which are aspects of themselves that they can’t control. Unlike their criticized male counterparts, who face backlash on their ability to analyze, commentate, and report on the game.