ESPN’s The Undefeated is continuing to grow. The site, which was launched back in May after years of development, has added three new people to its umbrella, Domonique Foxworth, LZ Granderson and Mark W. Wright. Granderson and Wright are ESPN veterans, while Foxworth is a famed former NFL cornerback and the former president of the NFLPA. Here are some details on their new roles:
Foxworth, a former president of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), brings his vast knowledge of issues and topics beyond the playing field to his role as a multiplatform analyst. He will add his unique perspective to topical issues the day. Granderson, who has dual roles as journalist and commentator for CNN and ESPN, will contribute regular columns and essays for The Undefeated.
Wright, a former ESPN The Magazine writer/reporter and ESPN Films’ producer, will be responsible for building the relationships between The Undefeated and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), one of the four primary content verticals for the site. Additionally, Wright will oversee efforts by The Undefeated to align with two important HBCU sporting events televised by ESPN, the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl and the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, as well as the development of a season-long HBCU national band competition.
“Dom, LZ and Mark add so many dimensions to The Undefeated. They are all great thinkers, extraordinarily versatile, and a joy to be around,” said Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated. “We are grateful to have them as we continue to develop our identity and expand our reach.”
Having Wright on board should help The Undefeated strengthen its HBCU content, which is an often-undercovered area and a logical fit for the site and its focus on the intersection of race, culture and sports. It’s also good to hear that they’re trying to further the partnerships between the site and the TV side of ESPN where appropriate; that might be key to helping The Undefeated survive and thrive in the long run. Granderson’s addition (or reassignment, really) makes sense on that level too, as now he can be linked to The Undefeated rather than just ESPN generally when he appears on ESPN platforms or on CNN. It’s certainly notable that this release describes all three as “multiplatform journalists,” as that furthers The Undefeated’s focus on providing content in a wide range of mediums (and integrating with ESPN’s other efforts in those mediums).
Foxworth’s official addition (he’s already been doing some pieces and podcasts for the site) is perhaps particularly noteworthy, given that he can bring a wide variety of perspectives. He has substantial experience as an athlete, as a NFLPA player rep, vice-president and president, as a Harvard Business School grad, and as someone who has been a key part of major charitable projects, such as the Baltimore BORN initiative (designed to provide lower income boys in local high schools with resources and networking opportunities) and the creation of the Darrent Williams Memorial Center. He has significant relationships with many current and former athletes, too, and that may be able to give him access for some unique pieces, such as this discussion with Ed Reed about race, violence and shootings in Louisiana. Foxworth’s bio’s description of him as “a recovering pro athlete and superficial intellectual” is one of the more unique ones you’ll find, and he’s a very interesting follow on Twitter. We’ll see what he, Wright and Granderson can bring to The Undefeated.