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 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



“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 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



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