NABJ 13 Memorable Mements

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Day one kicked off with the jam-packed Sports Mentorship Breakfast- Powered by ESPN. Once again the popularity of the event caused the room to be filled within 15 minutes of the start time. We apologize to those who were turned away but we hope you returned to network with people afterward. (Hint: Next year get there 15 mins before the program start time). ESPN provided a star-studded panel including speakers: Ohm Youngmisuk (ESPN NY) , Shemar Woods (ESPN NY), Al Jaffe (VP of Talent and Production Recruitment) and Cari Champion (ESPN First Take).

Keynote speaker, Jemele Hill, blessed us with words of wisdom including:

  • Control what you can in your life and don’t worry about what you can’t. Don’t let your circumstances dictate  your success.
  • Quit wondering what everyone else is doing and why you didn’t get a certain position. Stop looking left, right, up, down, but instead look forward on your journey.
  • If you’re the smartest person among your friends, you need to be anti-Drake and get some new ones.

Legends of the Game: A Candid Conversation with Gary Sheffield, Justice Hill and Ray Lankford.

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Our panelists did not hold back when delivering their thoughts on the current state of the MLB. Gary Sheffield, Justice Hill and Ray Lankford opened up about the lack of blacks in baseball, the on going PED issues and what the future of the sport looks like for African-Americans. Sheffield raised the questions “What makes a hall of fame career?”. In his eyes, the some of the current HOFers are no where near his caliber of play and it makes him question the decision process behind putting players in the Hall.

When the conversation carried to putting a suspected PED user but great player like Alex Rodriguez in the Hall of Fame, Justice Hill said he would vote him in. Hill does have a HOF vote so we will see if he uses it on the Yankee Great.

However, Fred McGriff was torn on letting Rodriguez into the Hall. “f you let A Rod in you have to let all those other guys in,” McGriff said.

Other quotable moments included:

  • “He’s a fresh of breath air. I was accused of similar things.” – Garry Sheffield on Yasiel Puig.
  • “If you don’t like what he doing, drill em. Then see what he do to you” -Garry Sheffield on Yasiel Puig.
  • “Baseball is so conservative in so many ways” “We’re asking the game to let people show their individuality”–Justice Hill
  • “It’s hard to fall in love with baseball if baseball is not in love with you and I don’t think baseball is in love with black players”-Justice Hill 

Double Standard: Working as a African American Woman in the Sports Journalism Industry 

If you ever questions who runs the world, this panel answered that for you– Girls! The ladies of sports came correct and covered important topics like male coworkers and players hitting on you, balancing work and your personal life, having natural hair on television and how to use being a woman in sports to your advantage. Basketball analyst, LaChina Robinson, hosted the panel in a talk show format and got plenty of laughs from the crowd with her Oprah/Ricki Lake/Wendy Williams/ I’m every woman routine.

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel was scheduled to be on the panel for the workshop but is true super woman fashion she couldn’t attend because she was giving birth to a baby girl! Congratulations Mrs. Owens.

Quotable moments from this sisterhood session included:

“My husband would fly out to meet me at Celtics game. In between practices we would go get something eat”- Monique Walker Jones Baltimore Sun, on balancing life and work

“Being a woman in sports you don’t have to know every sport but they need to know that you will do the work to find the answer” –Tara August, Turner Sports

“I hear the phrase work, life balance a lot and I haven’t quite figured out what that means just yet” — Amina Hussein, ESPN

“Advantage of being woman in locker room “Bill Belichick saw a woman and he opened up a lot,…I think it was a bit easier for him to see something different in the room” – Walker

“Once you establish a friendship level, players will tell y’all everything! They look at you like a sister.” – Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports

“I’ve been told curly hair is unprofessional.” – audience member

“It is changing though. Attitudes are relaxing and you don’t have to relax your hair. ”

The Story of the Storyteller: Breaking in, Finding Your Voice and Moving Up 

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This year, the Sports Journalism Institute celebrates 25 years. The program trains college students for careers in the sports journalism industry. We examined the impact of the program and how it
creates a platform for new voices in sports journalism. Panelists included. Leon Carter, Vice President, ESPNNY; Co-founder,
Jonathan Abrams, Writer, Grantland.com
Shannon Owens, Columnist, Orlando Sentinel
Ohm Youngmisuk, New Yorks Giants Beat Writer, ESPNNewYork.com
Sherlon Christie, Sports Reporter, Asbury Park Press
Heather Dinich, ACC Blogger, ESPN.com .

Quotable moments included: 

“The bar SJI set, knowing I met that, that’s an intangible that sticks with me throughout my career.” – SJI alum Marcus Thompson, Golden State Warriors beat writer for Contra Costa Times

“I wouldn’t be here in New York without SJI.”- SJI alumn ohm youngmisuk, current NY Giants beat writer for ESPNNewYork

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