Kevin Merida and Jon Wile
Kevin Merida (right) discusses ESPN’s The Undefeated with moderator Jon Wile. (Photo by Kenney Marlatt)


Kevin Merida, who says “you have to shake yourself up sometimes,” followed his own advice when he left a 22-year career at The Washington Post to take over ESPN’s The Undefeated. “I wanted to do something to make myself a little uncomfortable.”

He might make some readers uncomfortable with content that challenges the audience to think differently and confront the sports world’s most challenging issues. That mission has produced innovative, ground-breaking content about the intersection of race, sports and culture.

The Undefeated, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary in May, focuses on creating content that is “not conventional, never boring.”

“Part of being brave is having that as a tagline,” Merida said. “I want people to have that sensibility that we’re going to try and be brave and different in subjects we tackle. We want to experiment with storytelling in any sort of way that people want to experiment.”

Merida’s discussion with SNDCLT co-chair Jon Wile was the fourth and final keynote at the 2017 conference.

The Undefeated focuses on coverage of sports, race and culture. “We want to help lead and find solutions of things that are facing our society,” said Merida.

In addition to covering conflict or controversy in the athletic arena, Merida also recognizes the power of sports to bring people together. “Whether you’re a Trump voter or a Hillary voter; you’re a blue state or a red state, you all sit in the same row.”