by National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Today’s news that talented sports analyst and primary NBA Countdown host Maria Taylor is leaving the Disney-owned ESPN network is further fueling controversy involving the company and its culture as it relates to Black journalists. The statement announcing her departure can be found here.
The announcement, which comes on the heels of other recent developments at ESPN with regards to Black journalists leaving, has many questioning the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, retention, and advancement. These issues did not just come to the attention of NABJ as a result of a recent New York Times article — we’ve been hearing this from our members for quite some time.
ESPN President James Pitaro has agreed to meet with the NABJ leadership team the first week of August to discuss the current situation and what his team plans to do, in collaboration with NABJ, to address the multiple challenges facing the network.
“Our members who either work at ESPN or formerly worked at ESPN are sharing with us deeply troubling stories of their experience there,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker. “We are obviously disturbed by what we are hearing and are eager to meet with ESPN to assist them in long-overdue changes that will lead to a positive work environment for Black journalists and media professionals.”