It may have been a long time coming but ESPN has launched their African-American sports and culture blog, The Undefeated. It has been in the works for three years.
The site debuted last Tuesday with articles on Black athletes and artists and an introduction from the editor-in-chief Kevin Merida, who was formerly the Managing Editor of the Washington Post.
“At The Undefeated, every day will feature a surprise. Every day, some joy. And no day without swagger,” wrote Merida. “We want The Undefeated to feel urgent, necessary, not dutiful. Ours won’t be a site of sermons and scoldings (unless, of course, they’re earned).”
The launch went in line with the 62nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which was intended to end racial segregation in schools.
The site featured on Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston and the recently retired Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch, not to mention that there was a piece on Nate Moore, a Marvel Studios producer and there is a section on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The Undefeated was scheduled to launch during the Summer 2015, however that was delayed when the original editor-in-chief, Jason Whitlock, was removed from the project. He was initially hired in August 2013, but he was seen as a problem due to his managerial decisions and inappropriate emails. Whitlock left ESPN in October and went back to Fox Sports. A month later, Merida was hired as the new editor-in-chief.
During the upfront presentation on Tuesday, ESPN president John Skipper spoke on the dedication that the company has for the Undefeated.
“Kevin Merida, whom we met with, asked us, ‘How will I know if I’m succeeding?’” said Skipper. “I said, ‘You’ll know you’re succeeding if you’re publishing great content that people care about … and that makes people re-question things.’ That is our only measure of success.”
If you haven’t already seen the website, check it out here.
(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for ESPN)