ESPN host Jemele Hill said if she could pick a “Sports Person of the Year” for 2013, it would be the “N-word.”
Appearing on the Sports Reporters program, Hill used her “parting shot” segment to say that awards like Time‘s “Person of the Year” award are used to recognize “impact.” She said that she would not award the “Sports Person of the Year” award to people like Serena Williams, who was the AP female athlete of the year, or Peyton Manning, who was Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year.
Hill, the Numbers Never Lie co-host who has been praised for her performance on the program, noted thatTime once named a computer as its “person of the year.”
“My sports person of the year wouldn’t be a person at all but a word that is both reviled and revered,” Hill said.
She said that in 2013, “sports took on the N-word.” She mentioned that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper “was caught on video yelling it at a concert” and Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito caught using it “affectionally with black teammates.”
She then noted that after an NFL player was alleged to have called an umpire the “N-word,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance went as far to ask that players be fined or ejected for using the “N-word.”
“Eradicating the N-word won’t eliminate racism, but this year sports challenged our grip on the word,” she said. “That’s impact.”