The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force was disappointed to hear Stephen A. Smith’s remarks on the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese-born player, during the July 12th “First Take” on ESPN.
Smith’s comments highlighted the continual and hurtful “foreigner” and “other” perception many Asian American and Pacific Islanders continue to endure today.
Smith has a tremendous voice and platform, and we appreciate his apology. During a time of horrific rates of anti-Asian attacks and xenophobia in our country, we emphasize the importance of listening, empathy and cultural awareness.
The AAJA Sports Task Force stands ready to serve as a resource for media outlets on how to cover Asian and Asian American athletes and welcome and encourage any requests for additional feedback or input on this subject. AAJA calls on national and local media outlets to prioritize coverage of this ongoing violence and hate against AAPIs, and to empower their journalists to report on these incidents immediately, accurately and comprehensively.
Journalists can also utilize AAJA’s official guidance on covering Asia and Asian Americans.
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Sports Task Force has named Jackson Safon the inaugural winner of its ESPN internship.
“The process to find one that was most worthy of this ESPN/AAJA Sports Task Force internship wasn’t easy, with so many strong candidates,” said Howard Chen, STF’s chairman. “Special thanks to our judging panel for going through all the entries and selecting USC’s Jackson Safon, our inaugural winner of this incredible opportunity. Think about it: this is a paid internship with furnished housing covered! Thank you to ESPN and Disney for continuing to champion diversity with this internship.”
There were over 43 applicants for the ESPN/ AAJA Sports Task Force internship, but Jackson distinguished himself with his grades and his extensive work as in digital and broadcast media.
By Alysha Tsuji
Reggie Ho inconspicuously walked into the tail-end of an AAJA Sports Task Force meeting to say a few words prior to a screening of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary based off of his time as kicker for Notre Dame football.
I had watched the short film prior to the screening, so I knew what to expect from it: a riveting story about a man who fought his way onto a competitive football team while also studying to be a doctor — and who then succeeded at both.
Ho could have said a lot of things to us as he stood up. He could have harped on his personal accomplishments, or he could have given us a light preview of his documentary. Instead, he simply thanked the Sports Task Force for having him and sat down. The brevity surprised me, especially since it was revealed that he had cut his family’s Hawaiian vacation time short to be at the AAJA convention with us.
But after the screening, as ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi conducted a Q&A with Ho, I understood.
Really enjoyed being a part of the Q&A w former ND kicker Dr Reggie Ho after his 30-for-30 screening at AAJA 2015. pic.twitter.com/OwECj4A9fD
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) August 14, 2015
Every question Negandhi asked, Ho answered respectfully, with pure class and humility. Negandhi even joked about how, at one point, Ho provided a room full of journalists with the classic canned “It wasn’t me, it was the team” answer.
It quickly became evident that it wasn’t a canned answer. It was just Reggie Ho being Reggie Ho.
— Victoria Lim (@VictoriaLim) August 14, 2015
The hard work, the discipline, the humility — it propelled Ho to success. He’s now a cardiologist who will forever have his fond memories of kicking for Notre Dame football and winning a title in 1988.
A key moment that resonated with me was when Ho recalled how Coach Lou Holtz addressed the team after the championship win. Holtz told them — in the midst of a national championship victory — to remember there was more to life than football. Ho said he was touched that Holtz took a moment to acknowledge that football was just a sport, and that family, God and friends mattered more.
That perspective can speak to people in all walks of life, and it was inspiring to hear from Dr. Ho himself. Here are some social media highlights of the “Student/Athlete” screening and post-film interview:
— Kevin Lee (@KevinNLee) August 14, 2015
— Josh CanlasTolentino (@JCTSports) August 14, 2015
— Ryan Fox (@RJustinFox) August 14, 2015
— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) August 14, 2015