Sue Bird converted frustration with ‘insanely, almost unbelievably low’ women’s sports coverage into new media platform

  • Sue Chook’s frustration with the shortage of ladies’s sports activities protection led to her new media firm.
  • Co-founded with Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, and Simone Manuel, TOGETHXR goals to stage the enjoying area.
  • Chook spoke to Insider about offering “extra ‘see it, be it’ moments for the youthful era.”

Sue Chook has been fed up with ladies’s sports activities protection – or lack thereof – for a really, very very long time.

In truth, the WNBA icon can nonetheless keep in mind the primary time she noticed knowledgeable athlete who seemed like her. She was already an adolescent.

Sue Chook.AP Picture/Elaine Thompson

“Once I was a child, there was nobody on TV for me to look as much as,” Chook informed Insider. “Individuals ask me on a regular basis, simply basically interviews, ‘Oh, who’d you mannequin your sport after? Who did you look as much as?’ and for modeling my sport, I haven’t got a solution as a result of there was no one to look at at these ages.”
Three a long time and an esteemed profession later, the whole lot and nothing has modified. Chook has racked up 4 WNBA championships, 11 All-Star nods, extra assists than anybody within the league’s historical past, and 4 Olympic gold medals.

However by all of it, the media panorama has hardly budged. At the moment, solely 4% of sports activities media protection is dedicated to ladies’s sports activities, leaving even the celebrities of Chook’s magnitude thirsting for recognition.

Sue Bird converted frustration with 'insanely, almost unbelievably low' women's sports coverage into new media platform
Sue Chook celebrates her fourth WNBA championship.Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports activities

“It has been irritating at instances – I would be mendacity if I stated it wasn’t,” Chook admitted. “Whenever you take a look at the quantity 4%, it is simply insanely, nearly unbelievably low. That should change.”

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So now, on the twilight of her illustrious profession, Chook is taking it upon herself to assist facilitate the change – along side some like-minded and similarly-situated superstars. She teamed up with US Girls’s Nationwide Staff striker Alex Morgan, snowboarding prodigy Chloe Kim, and trailblazing swimmer Simone Manuel to create their very own media firm centered on ladies. Every of them, like Chook, is an Olympic gold medalist and a pacesetter of their respective sport

TOGETHXR, which formally launched firstly of March, is the ensuing sports activities and life-style platform with the bold however lengthy overdue purpose of eradicating the gender inequality hole in media protection. They usually’re going even additional. Past tackling sexism, TOGETHXR is concentrated on providing range in all varieties, and its founding foursome serves as only one manifestation of the publication’s emphasis on “illustration and intersectionality.”

Sue Bird converted frustration with 'insanely, almost unbelievably low' women's sports coverage into new media platform
From left: Alex Morgan, Simone Manuel, Sue Chook, and Chloe Kim.Raven B. Varona/TOGETHXR

“The 4 of them are so completed on their very own, however collectively I joke that they are just like the Avengers,” Chief Content material Officer Jessica Robertson informed Insider. “They’ve totally different ages, they play totally different sports activities, there’s totally different accomplishments, there’s totally different orientations, and totally different races. It is simply such an unimaginable, highly effective collective.”

For Chook, these variations fortify the group as a result of “having totally different voices, totally different concepts, totally different outlooks at that desk and having the ability to throw concepts round [is] the way you get the great things.” Having a various group of founders additionally contributes to TOGETHXR’s final purpose of offering “see it, be it” moments to as many younger ladies as attainable.

Sue Bird converted frustration with 'insanely, almost unbelievably low' women's sports coverage into new media platform
Sue Chook.Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports activities

The thought, Chook defined, is that younger individuals are higher in a position to aspire to one thing as soon as they see somebody like them doing it first. Her personal “see it, be it” second – her realization that she may develop into knowledgeable basketball participant – got here “fairly late within the sport” after watching famous person Jennifer Azzi play for the primary time.

“I did not get mine till I used to be 14,” Chook stated. “Even then, I used to be most likely fortunate to get it, and that is coming from a white woman. So these days, we have to get extra tales out about different individuals.”

“After which what is going to hopefully come from that’s extra ‘see it, be it’ moments for the youthful era.”

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