Claim: ESPN Flips Meaning of Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring

Jay Maxson | September 10, 2021
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ESPN, more and more, seems like it has flipped the meaning of diversity and inclusion. According to Outkick columnist Bobby Burack, it’s become obvious that ESPN is giving blatant advantages to some over others in its hiring process. 

ESPN executives have frequently emailed on-air talent messages about diversity and inclusion, Burack wrote in his critical assessment of ESPN. However, he contends that they “use words to convey the opposite meaning. At ESPN, inclusion means exclusion. … It’s an open secret among ESPN talents, broadcast agents, and network producers that ESPN factors skin color into its decision-making. It isn’t the only network to do so either.”

Burack said ESPN has over-compensated for past shortcomings on the racial make-up of its personalities. There is no need to apologize anymore, he said, “Yet the network still is. Inside the walls of ESPN, the word ‘diversity’ means more black people and fewer white people, even though that’s not its true definition.” Asians, Hispanics and whites are largely left out of ESPN’s hiring process.

This mind-set of continual race-based apologies is happening all over the U.S., Burack claimed. ESPN and other organizations have more financial incentives to play the race card and pretend people are still outraged about racism. Racial division sells even if it no longer exists, Burack explained. This is why ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro says he still has more work to do on diversity at the network.

After the George Floyd incident, ESPN’s parent company Disney felt pressure to prove the network is not racist. They’ve spent the past year going overboard with this obsession. “Simply treating people equally, regardless of skin color, will not do it anymore,” Burack added.

After some program personality shake-ups this year, ESPN has beefed up its black representation – at the expense of white people, he claimed. The white Rachel Nichols was dumped from NBA Finals coverage in favor of the black Maria Taylor. Stephen A. Smith, the purveyor of “white privilege,” pushed white counterpart Max Kellerman off the ESPN flagship program First Take, though the latter is getting his own program. Tim Tebow will make brief token white guy appearances on First Take each Friday.

All-black additions to the lineup include Michael Irvin, Marcus Spears, Kim Martin, Bart Scott, Mike Tomlin, Keyshawn Johnson, Damien Woody, Michael Strahan, Eddie George, Deion Sanders and Omar Hardwick. This isn’t about critics making an issue of race. ESPN has gone wildly overboard loading up on black talent at the expense of equal opportunity. Hostess Molly Querim is not black, but there has been an effort to remove her from First “woke” Take, too.

Burack also noted that at least half of ESPN’s TV and radio hosts are black. Malika Andrews, Chiney Ogwukike, Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins – all black – are possible NBA coverage replacements for the departed Nichols. This is further proof that ESPN is doing anything but holding back black employees.

In echoing something Megyn Kelly told Burack this week, ESPN’s skewed diversity strategy is also an attempt to please the social media mob, an impossible task. Kelly said, “It doesn’t matter how many chips you deposit in the Woke Bank. They will come for you, they will cut you.”

In closing his assessment of ESPN’s unequal employment opportunity insistence, Burack drove home the point that “Backward is now the way forward. What cowards these people are.”

Related: A Foul Shot? ESPN Reporter Off Sidelines After Not Getting Vaxxed

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