In honor of this year’s inaugural celebration, a new website, www.blackwomeninsports.com, was launched. The site provides a host of Black women centered resources, including lists of podcasts hosted and publications written by Black women in the sports industry, non-profit organizations committed to supporting and advancing opportunities for Black women and girls, as well as Black-owned activewear brands. There is also a social media campaign with the accompanying hashtag, #blackwomeninsports.
Although there is still much work to be done in this space, women’s sports have been making gains on all fronts. But for Black women, these advancements have been extraordinary. “Over the last five years we have seen Cynthia Marshall become the first Black woman CEO in NBA history, with the Dallas Mavericks; Sandra Douglass Morgan become the first Black woman to become president of an NFL team, with the Las Vegas Raiders; and agent Nicole Lynn become president of football operations for Klutch Sports Group, after which she negotiated what was then a record $255 million contract extension for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player,” writes The Athletic.
Jaia Thomas, founder and CEO of Diverse Representation, the group behind this campaign, wants to amplify these accomplishments, which would have been relatively impossible for Black women of past generations to achieve because of the lack of opportunities available.
Thomas, a prolific entertainment and sports law attorney, said “The ultimate goal is three-fold…Firstly, I want National Black Women in Sports Day to serve as a blueprint for young Black girls to see what is possible. As the adage goes ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’”
She continues, “Although I had amazing examples of successful Black women throughout my childhood, I don’t think I ever met a Black woman agent, attorney, or executive in the sports industry until I was in my late 20s or maybe early 30s. Having a day that highlights these women can provide a type of exposure for young Black girls and young Black women that they may not get elsewhere. I’m hoping this exposure motivates them to pursue these careers.”
“Secondly, I want it to open up more opportunities for Black women in the sports industry,” she added. “Black women are still the minority in every segment of the sports industry and my hope is that this day will challenge sports teams, leagues, agencies and organizations to be more intentional about hiring Black women.”
A final goal Thomas noted, “is to garner more support for Black women who currently work in the sports industry. By educating people about Black women coaches or Black women athletic directors and more, my hope is that we become more proactive about supporting them. I’ll know if it has achieved these goals when the numbers start to increase, when we start to see more Black women executives, agents, coaches, etc., in the industry,” stated Thomas.