As a new columnist and editor at large at The Undefeated, William C. Rhoden is looking toward the future, and not just his own. In his new role, Rhoden will not only be writing columns on sports, culture and race, but is also setting up an internship program to support a new generation of sports journalists.
“John Skipper and Kevin Merida have helped turn a dream into reality,” Rhoden said in a statement. “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. I look forward to passing the torch I received from Sam Lacy and many others to a vibrant, new generation,” he said, referring to the black sportswriter who worked during and experienced the effects of segregation and also served as a mentor to many generations of journalists.
“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 Merida, who is ESPN senior vice president and editor in chief of The Undefeated, in a statement. “Thankfully for us, and for our readers, Bill will continue to write–his strong, brilliant voice is still needed.”
Rhoden had spent almost three-and-a-half decades at The New York Times, the last 26 of them as Sports of The Times columnist, before taking a buyout in July of last year. At the time, Rhoden told Richard Prince that one of his post-Times aims would be a focus on getting “young black writers in the pipeline.” He’ll be doing just that in this new role.