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NBA on TNT Says It’s Looking For Black Applicants Only For New On-Air Gig

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If you know any “gifted young journalists,” you should immediately tell them that skills may no longer be enough to land a job — that they may also need the right skin color to succeed in media.

TNT has proudly announced that it’s accepting applications for a new on-air role for its coverage of the NBA All-Star Game. The successful candidate must have the following qualifications: gifted skills and black skin. 

An NBA on TNT social strategist promoted the opening on Wednesday:

White, Hispanic, and Asian applicants need not apply, and they shouldn’t even think about doing so.

By joining “Lift Every Voice,” “a grassroots initiative centered on empowering the imaginations of Black student journalists,” TNT sends the message that hiring people based entirely on their skin color is acceptable. It also implies that the sports media industry holds black voices back. But where is the evidence of that?

TNT’s top NBA journalist Chris Haynes is black. Three of the four members of TNT’s Inside the NBA pregame show are black. In addition, Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report has made Taylor Rook, a black woman, the face of its brand.

Meanwhile at ESPN, the NBA’s other major partner, seven of the eight members of its pregame program, NBA Countdown, are black. In fact, the Worldwide Leader of Sports has just two former journalists working in opinion roles on ESPN’s NBA bumper programming: Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon, both of whom are black. And Malika Andrews, a black female journalist in her 20s, replaced Rachel Nichols, a white woman, to be the host of ESPN’s signature daily NBA show in the fall.

That’s not to say these personalities on ESPN and TNT don’t deserve their positions. Wilbon, Smith, Haynes, and Charles Barkley are four of the most talented people in sports media. However, their roles on these various NBA programs raises an important question: how is the media industry suppressing black voices, as TNT suggests in the ad?

The truth is, Turner and the NBA are pandering here. By refusing to acknowledge progress in race relations in America and by ignoring other minority groups, TNT ensures that blue checks will applaud the network on social media. And they have. Twitter users have cheered the idea since the network first promoted the program on Wednesday. 

Like most other media companies, Turner is now openly racist in an effort to prove it is not racist. It’s so strange how that works.

Anyway, I’m glad to see young journalists, regardless of skin color, get an opportunity. But for aspiring white, Hispanic, or Asian NBA writers, it’s not too late to learn a useful trade like welding or plumbing.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

48 Comments

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  1. If this fellowship had been offered back in 1998-2000 when I was a (Caucasian) undergraduate communications major (and, yes, I’m *still* Caucasian LOL) who, at that time, aspired to work as a sports journalist, could my application have been given consideration by TNT if I had merely *identified* as black/African-American? I mean, I attended a public high school (and middle school…and elementary school) where black kids composed close to 85% of its student enrollment…Shouldn’t I have been considered black at least thru some level of tangential osmosis? #SMGDMFH

    • To answer everyone of your questions NO. I grew up watching sports on television when every single one of the host were white and didn’t care. Still a Musberger fan, loved NFL films.

      Unfortunately the AWM types have bought into the replacement theory passed in by Tucker Carlson and Jarrod Taylor types and it makes the typical Alt Right Maga male look weak and ineffective. Then you add the sports landscape were some AWM feel sidelined and it feeds into the WHITE MALE FRAGILITY MINDSET. …It’s really pretty….that’s why the LEFT likes sports. Open competition and may the best man win. IJMFS

  2. Not meaning to incur BDLie’s wrath regarding his contention that the abilities to “dunk” and “run post patterns” signifies that Blacks are now the master race … but …

    One area that immediately comes to mind where “blacks” appear to be falling further and further behind is “being responsible Dads”.

    Of course “dunking” and “running post patterns” are certainly highly valued skills in the 21st century.

    PS: Speaking of Brent Musberger, I do believe one of his NFL Today co-hosts way back then was the late Irv Cross. Last time I checked Irv was “not white”. … just saying…

  3. I’m black, and many other blacks throughout this country do not like or agree with this. We want to be hired based on our knowledge and skillset rather than the color of our skin.

    Liberals are a threat to us all. They pander to a degree that is so obvious and outright offensive to everyone.

  4. Honestly, this has gone on in broadcast television hiring for generations. It’s understood in that industry. The entire business model for tv talent is based on their Q Score, which measures individual appeal to target demographics. Channels keep up with Q Score and target demographics to justify prices for ads to market products/services. So to sum up, TBS wants to hire anchors/hosts who appeal most to their primary NBA audience demographic, which attracts/keeps those viewers, the show parades those viewership stats in front of advertisers who are trying to reach that demographic most interested in their product, and those companies are willing to pay big $$$ to buy ads on the right shows. It’s basically Mad Men. The purpose of mass media is primarily to sell advertising, period. It’s far more shallow than race or gender; it’s all about the $. We are nameless consumers to these people, don’t kid yourselves.

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