The official announcement:
James Brown, three-time Emmy award winner, host of “The NFL Today” on CBS, “Thursday Night Football” on CBS, and special correspondent for CBS News, is the winner of the second-annual Sam Lacy-Wendell Smith Award.
Given to a sports journalist who has made significant contributions to racial and gender equality in sports, the award is presented by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
“James Brown’s accomplishments, starting when he was a very young man at DeMatha Catholic High School, have been exemplary in every sense of the word,” said Povich Center Director George Solomon. “If you are going to honor and tell a story about someone who made it to the top and kept his head and balance all the way, while giving back to his community, you are not going to find a better person than James Brown. He honors the two men whom the award is named for, as well as himself, his family and everyone he’s ever come in contact with.”
The award was created to honor Lacy and Smith – the late African-American sportswriters who battled against prejudice and injustice their entire careers. Both men were instrumental for years in pushing for the integration of Major League Baseball and covered Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947.
“I’m proud and humbled to receive an award that honors the memory of two distinguished journalists such as Sam Lacy and Wendell Smith. Both men worked long and hard for justice and equality in sports — their efforts resulting in their changing the very culture of this country, ” Brown said.
James Brown’s coach at DeMatha, the retired Basketball Hall of Fame member Morgan Wootten, said Brown remains one of his favorite players. “Of all the kids I’ve coached, James is the shining example of the student-athlete. I think he’s the most popular player ever to have been at DeMatha. Any community would be very fortunate to have had a James Brown in their midst.”
Brown was selected to receive the award by a committee that included Povich Center Director George Solomon, Povich Center coordinator Beth Mechum, Editorial Director for NBA.com Greg Lee, Alicia Patterson Foundation Director Margaret Engel, Merrill College professor Diana Huffman and former Sporting News Editor Garry Howard, now Director of Corporate Initiatives at American City Business Journals.
Brown is the second winner of the award, following Claire Smith, a news editor at ESPN.
He will receive the award at a luncheon, Thursday, April 2, at the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center on the University of Maryland campus.
For information on tickets, please contact Beth Mechum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About James Brown
James Brown, was born in Washington, D.C. He was a basketball star at DeMatha Catholic High School and Harvard where he earned his degree in American Government and was captain of the team his senior year before being drafted in 1973 by the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association and Denver Nuggets of the American Basketball Association.
He also has been associated with many charitable activities in the D.C. area over the years, including co-chairing with Michael Wilbon of ESPN the DC-Cap Golf Classic & Roast that assists the D.C. College Access Program helping to send D.C. students to college.
Brown and his wife, Dorothy, live in Maryland. His daughter, Katrina and her husband John have three daughters and one son.
About the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism
Named for the late Washington Post sports writer and columnist Shirley Povich, the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism was established in November of 2011 under the directorship of long-time Washington Post sports editor George Solomon.
The Povich Center serves Philip Merrill College of Journalism students and professional journalists, as well as the university and greater community through its panels, workshops and support of the college’s academic offerings as well as research and analysis. Shirley Povich was an eyewitness to the most significant sporting events of the 20th century and his fearless reporting took on questions of race, religion and gender. The Povich Center hopes to lead a new generation of sports journalists to view and chronicle events in sports.
The Center serves as a launching pad for University of Maryland students to learn, actively participate in and develop the journalistic skills they need to meet the challenges of new media that face the next generation of sports journalists.
The Center was made possible by continued support Povich’s children – Maury, Lynn and David – as well as support from other involved parties.