Black sportswriting talent finds outlet on new online site

The Shadow is an online site that features Black writers who provide in-depth articles. It provides “engaging, insightful and entertaining coverage of the intersection of sports, pop culture and

Kevin Clinkscales

race” from a diverse perspective.   Comparable to the Black-oriented news site The, TheShadowLeague. com, which debuted in January, is a “go-to website for edgy, forward-thinking perspectives.” However, unlike The Root, which is corporate- owned, the latter is solely owned by former ESPN vice-president Keith Clinkscales.   “We all enjoy sports,” says Clinkscales. “The purpose of ventures like mine is to make sure that we have more of a voice in the national sports discussion.”   During his six-year stint at ESPN, Clinkscales executive-produced two Peabody Award winners: the 30 for 30 documentary series and Black Magic, a four-hour documentary on Earl Monroe. Prior to that, he helped launched Vibe Magazine with Quincy Jones.   “Learning about good journalism and seeing the power of urban culture in live action” were two things Clinkscales learned first-hand during his ESPN days, he points out. He also realized that Blacks and other people of color are heavy consumers of sports and pop culture.   “The foundation of the site is sports and sports analysis,” notes Clinkscales on The Shadow League’s stable of top Black writers. “There is always an ongoing sports conversation, and what we try to do is make sure that we are bringing perspective, insight and hard work.   “Our goal,” adds Clinkscales, “is to be the

Rob Parker

kind of place where there are some of the people you know” such as veteran sports columnists Rob Parker, who was fired last year from ESPN after eight years, and Scoop Jackson.   Vincent Thomas, who recently wrote the very insightful The Black Quarterback is Dead, is the site’s editor-in-chief, and Khalid Salaam, formerly with Slam Magazine, is deputy editor. “I thought those guys were bright, young, energetic talent,” says Clinkscales on Thomas and Salaam. “Then we were able to take writers from all over the place.”   Other successful wordsmiths include award-winning author, producer and filmmaker Nelson George, Kevin Powell and Keith Murphy. “We try to cover other things that affect the culture, but the main thing is to get the sports right,” says Clinkscales.   Finally, The Shadow League “is to serve sports fans” but not to duplicate existing sports sites, notes its founder. “If you just give them what they are already getting, you are not going to keep them. Those fans are already very up on looking at different places including ESPN to get their sports news.”   Rather he wants The Shadow League to stand out and become a regular destination for sports news and analysis. “You have to work hard to provide that angle, insights and perspective that is difficult to get” anywhere else, concludes Clinkscales. “I think that is very important for our growth. Believe in the power of the culture and let the culture work for you.”   Globe-tracking the Lynx   The Lynx players are now in their overseas post-season: Sparta&K (Seimone Augustus) and USK Praha (Rebekkah Brunson) both are in EuroLeague first-round action. Dandenong (Monica Wright) and Townsville (Jessica Adair) began the Australia league playoffs last weekend. Bichumi (Amber Harris) concluded its regular season Monday.

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