ESPN’s The Undefeated has announced the hiring of former New York Times columnist William Rhoden. He’ll be a columnist and an editor-at-large for the site which explores race, sports and culture.

In addition to his duties at The Undefeated, Rhoden will establish Rhoden Fellows, a sports journalism internship program. The program will identify potential African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and train them.

Rhoden was a long-time employee of the New York Times and wrote the “Sports of the Times” column until last year. He has also been a panelist on The Sports Reporters dating back to 1989.

He also wrote the 1996 HBO documentary, “Journey of the African American Athlete” as well as “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football” in 2008 for which he won an Emmy Award.

We have quotes from both ESPN and Rhoden on his joining The Undefeated and also establishing his new mentoring program:

“Bill’s pioneering career has been phenomenal, his body of work unmatched. We are grateful to have him leading a new initiative at The Undefeated to develop the next generation of Bill Rhodens,” said Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated. “Thankfully for us, and for our readers, Bill will continue to write – his strong, brilliant voice is still needed.”

“John Skipper and Kevin Merida have helped turn a dream into reality,” Rhoden said. “Through The Undefeated, ESPN has provided me with an unprecedented opportunity to identify, mentor and sponsor talented young journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Rhoden added: “I look forward to passing the torch I received from Sam Lacy and many others to a vibrant, new generation.”

The hiring of Rhoden gives The Undefeated some star power and gives him a new outlet for his columns.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.