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ESPN'S RACE FORUM: ARE HISPANICS LEFT OUTSIDE THE LINES?
Published April 14, 1998
ESPN will air a two-hour "SportsCenter" special, "Race & Sports: Running In Place?," tonight beginning at 7:30pm ET. The special will begin with a 30-minute "Outside The Lines" segment focusing on race and sports, which will be followed by a 90-minute Town Meeting discussion on the issue, hosted by Bob Ley (ESPN). ESPN SportsZone will offer its first live video Webcast for the Town Meeting tonight at 8:00pm ET. The two-day package will link off the SportsZone front page and offer related feature stories, user polls and an opportunity for users to send in questions to panelists during the broadcast (ESPN SportsZone). THE FULL ROSTER: President Clinton will be a member of the panel at the Town Meeting, to be held in Houston's Cullen Theater. Clinton will be joined by Padres Owner John Moores, former Browns RB Jim Brown, Georgetown Univ. basketball coach John Thompson, Olympic gold medalist Jackie-Joyner Kersee, Vikings coach Dennis Green, Univ. of GA AD Vince Dooley, 49ers President Carmen Policy, and ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan. In Houston, David Barron wrote that ESPN is distributing the tickets to the event, and is also "in charge of screening the 14 to 16 audience members who will be allowed to ask questions." Ley, on a possible White House influence at the forum: "This is our show. While the White House is providing the President, and we are grateful for that, this is an ESPN show from start to finish" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/9). In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes that Clinton's presence "is a bit of an X factor for the program, because no one knows what he will bring to the discussion." Kent also reports that Jets WR Keyshawn Johnson and NBA prospect Felipe Lopez have been added to the panel "as the only current athletes" (Baltimore SUN, 4/14). LEFT OUT? In N.Y., Kathy Kiely reports that Latino activists said tonight's event "slights Latin Americans" because Lopez is the only Hispanic on the panel. Deputy White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said that ESPN "had sent out invitations to about two dozen Hispanic athletes, who declined for various reasons" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/14).