ESPN Set To Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Marcus Vanderberg 

As part of the 25th anniversary of the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ESPN will celebrate with a multiplatform weeklong initiative called the “Content of Character,” starting on Jan. 11.

The initiative will be highlighted by a two-hour “town hall” discussion about the current image of the black athlete featuring Film director Spike Lee, Michael Wilbon and former University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon. Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts and Outside the Lines‘ Bob Ley will serve as hosts.

In addition, ESPN will have special segments on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and SportsNation along with vignettes featuring sports figures speaking on the impact of Dr. King’s legacy.

Below is a complete look at what ESPN has lined up for next week:

Outside the Lines to Focus on Black Leaders in Sports – January 11-14
ESPN’s daily sports issue program, Outside the Lines hosted by Ley, will devote four days starting Tuesday, Jan. 11, to profiling and discussing African Americans in sports – coaches, owners, executives and athletes. The half-hour show is aired weekdays at 3 p.m.

SportsNation on the Road
SportsNation, aired weekdays at 4 p.m. on ESPN2, will travel to Dr. King’s alma mater, Atlanta’s Morehouse College on Wednesday, Jan. 12, and from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La, on Thursday, Jan. 13. Co-host Michelle Beadle will be joined on the programs by ESPN NFL analyst Marcellus Wiley.

SportsCenter – January 11-17
SportsCenter will run special features and vignettes January 11-17. The segments will involve a preview of the Town Hall meeting and trends for black coaches, executives, team owners and other influencers in sports today, including interviews with Phoenix Suns GM Lance Blanks and Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Raheem Morris.

Vignettes will appear throughout ESPN studio and event programming and on with testimonials from prominent sports figures and ESPN commentators about Dr. King’s legacy.

Other highlights:

  • Additional features, special graphics and music are being created in support of the initiative;
  • Each day ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning (simulcast on ESPN2) and The Herd with Colin Cowherd (simulcast on ESPNU) will have special MLK-themed segments. ESPN Radio will also run the vignettes and have special content running through the week.
  • ESPN the Magazine will have dedicated content as part of the annual NEXT issue to be released Friday, Jan 14, as it highlights the “next” black influencers in sports.
  • ESPN will hold a Sports Career Panel for students at Morehouse College Friday, Jan. 14.