In a world that is undoubtedly dominated by men, a black woman, especially one who is changing the game in sports, always seems to be considered a threat. Further, amid the crisis and chaos involving Rachel Nichols and the unfair "leverage" that Maria Taylor received due to her race in a leaked phone recording, this proved that this also couldn't be more of the case.
Black women have to work twice as hard and just as good to even be considered for an assignment. Time and time again, we are pushed, slated with higher expectations that anyone else, yet we still always rise to the challenge. Moreover, this is what Maria Taylor has beautifully done, and most recently Malika Andrews.
Malika Andrews, a 26-year-old sports reporter working for ESPN has been grinding slowly but surely in the business. She along with her sister, Kendra Andrews, both have excelled in a way that has given young Black professional women, the belief that they can make it. Yet, even when the noise of the Rachel Nichols' situation occurred, Andrews rose to the challenge and delivered an incredible performance.
That performance was her sideline reporting during the NBA Finals. A position usually held by Rachel Nichols, but was given to Andrews instead because of the current frenzy at hand, was embodied with grace and class by the young reporter. It is uncertain to imagine that if Ms. Rachel Nichols had not been exposed in the voice recording, that Malika Andrews would have had this moment. Nonetheless, history was made in a different way this year in the 2021 NBA Finals.
Source Credit:@Malika_Andrews (Instagram)
With the Milwaukee Bucks capturing a title for the first time in 50 years and with Andrews being the youngest broadcaster to host the NBA Finals Trophy ceremony, history was once again on the side of a black woman. It did not matter the circumstances of how she got there, but to put it frank, Malika Andrews understood the assignment. She was a model of poise, grace, and determination when covering a sport that has worked so hard by others to try and gatekeep her out of. It was truly refreshing to see, and I know that Maria Taylor was proud.
Truly, it is even greater to see that Maria Taylor, after reportedly not being able to reach a new contract agreement with ESPN, has parted ways and officially joined rival NBC Sports. Taylor has been broadcasted on world-wide screens as she covers the Olympics from Tokyo, Japan. Playing several roles as a college football gameday host, WNBA, NBA, NFL analysts, and so much more with ESPN, Taylor has truly left a mark on this industry. While she is still taking over and encouraging other young black girls and women in this industry to never give up and always rise above the adversity, she too understands the assignment.
Image courtesy of: (@Mariataylor), Instagram
The grace that we extend as Black women, should always be the same grace that we receive. The support should also be unwavering and never-ending.