Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Refreshing point of view

Scott Brooks, the author of “Black Men Can’t Shoot,” gave the SJI class a fresh perspective on the impact of sports on both our surroundings and ourselves.

During the Skype conversation with the class, Brooks asked the class what are the stories that have impacted us in any sort of way. I mentioned a story I covered about the culture and tradition of a football rivalry between two high schools that don’t exist anymore. My story is an example of how, as Brooks says, sports is not just an “extracurricular activity.” Rather, sports is a part of our everyday lives. It’s a way to talk to new friends, bring about discussions, and bond over shared experiences.

However, Brooks also mentioned that, with this passion, there are a lot of social strains that certain people face everyday. For instance, racial bias in sports—if you look carefully—is still present today. Brooks started the conversation about Serena Williams, and how, even though she is undoubtably the best and most successful tennis player, Williams is still compared to players like Maria Sharapova, who are renowned for their beauty.

When sports and culture intersect, it also carries all of the social inadequacies and injustices that America faces today.

“Sports is core to our society now,” Brooks said, “When young people have bad experiences, it lasts the for a long time.”

As I continue to find the sports stories that matter, Brooks reminds me to think of the social impact that I will have on my audience, and to use my position as a minority to bring a fresh perspective to a newsroom.

-Steven Hernandez