If you’re going to have an all female sports podcast at least bring a chair up for a woman of color. And that’s at the bare minimum.
Diversity doesn’t mean you solely should be in it to fill a quota.
Like NBC Sports Washington seems to have done.
In its new podcast, In the Loop, which it touts as being an “all-female podcast” the network says the quartet of white female hosts will tackle “the latest in pop culture, sports and everything else that pops into their conversation.”
Listen, the word diversity has a ton of gray areas — like many things — and in sports media sometimes if we invite what seems to be a less threatening voice into the conversation, then we have gotten that “gender’s perspective.” That isn’t a surprise. In the case of NBC Sports Washington, it’s clear there weren’t any voices of color in the room that were heard.
Twitter has saved the day, calling them out for that.
If you look just at the talent at NBC Sports Washington, none of its on air reporters are people of color. Given that D.C. is roughly 46% black, that is unacceptable.
But NBC Sports Washington isn’t the only media outlet that has been completely tone deaf when it comes to inclusion and diverse voices. The Athletic rolled out a mirroring talent list when it introduced its college vertical which were eight white reporters. It has since gotten better and has taken to hiring a more diverse staff, but not before being called out by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Sports Task Force, a group devoted to diversity in sports reporting.
As a member of the media, it’s our responsibility to amplify the voices whom we are covering and if we’re being honest, knowing the demographics of three of the most popular professional sports leagues in the country — the NBA, NFL and MLB — how can four white women give true voices of “culture” to athletes of leagues predominantly black and Latino?
Instead of saying “all women” podcast just say “all white women podcast,” because that’s what you mean.
It’s past the point of nostalgia calling out the shortcomings of large media outlets’ agendas of filling their definition of “diversity.” If the market for your audience and the people in which you are covering are largely black and latino but you choose to bring in people of a completely different background while claiming to be “covering sports pop culture,” what does that say?
Just let that marinate for a minute.
Because it doesn’t add up.
As a black woman in this space, I know a few black women who do a damn good job covering sports in the D.C. market that would be a great asset to an “all women sports platform,” that could actually give an authentic cultural voice to athletes who play for the Washington football team, the Wizards, Nationals and Capitals and Georgetown basketball — but far too many times we are overlooked. When these outlets look for a female perspective, our voice is often dismissed in favor of what they deem to be a more warm and inviting woman — white women — which just further perpetuates stereotypes.
Women of all races have different voices to bring to a conversation. Not to mention all the types of intersectionality between women of various races and sexual orientation. Know that when you invite a “woman” to the table it’s singular — she doesn’t speak for the entire gender.
NBC Sports Washington is not the first — and probably won’t be the last — media outlet to be this oblivious to its “diversity” shortcomings. There has to be a better way.