Kavitha A. Davidson - Culture, Race, & Gender in Sports

Kavitha A. Davidson

October 24, 2019
The Great Hall

Reflection | Podcast | VideoPhotos

Sports columnist covering the intersection of sports and society, culture, politics, race, gender and business.

Kavitha A. Davidson is a sports writer based in New York. She was previously a columnist at espnW and Bloomberg, focusing on the intersection of sports and business, culture, race, and gender. Her work has also been published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and NBC News THINK, and has been noted in Best American Sports Writing. She also has appeared on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC.



Sports writer Kavitha A. Davidson spoke to SUU students and community on October 24th, 2019. Davidson is widely respected by media outlets such as CNN, Fox Sports, and MSNBC, to name a few. After her introduction by SUU athletics director, Debbie Corum, she was welcomed to the stage by Dr. Lynn Vartan, director of A.P.E.X. Events, and David Berri, Professor of Economics at SUU. Dr. Berri has also written numerous articles on economics and sports, focusing primarily on the race, gender, and culture issues and aspects of sports; him and Davidson had interviewed each other in the past for their respective journalism sites, which is how they met. The panel for this event consisted of Dr. Berri, Davidson, and Dr. Vartan, and the three discussed how they would be discussing the intersection between race and gender and its role in sports culture.

Dr. Vartan began the discussion by asking Kavitha how she got into sports and about her new project with Anders Kelto and involvement with the Yogi Berra Museum. Kavitha recalled her experience at the 1997 MLB World Series, where the New York Yankees had won; Kavitha instantly became a sports fan, and based her career off of her love for sports. She is currently working on co-hosting the podcast, “The Lead,” which covers deeper behind-the-scenes reporting of sports scores and has recently joined the Board of Directors for the Yogi Berra Museum in New York.

The discussion then shifted to gender issues in sports and how women’s sports aren’t covered nearly as much as men’s sports are. Davidson noted that women’s sports only get about 5-11% of coverage compared to men, and that only 10% of sports writers are women; the numbers are even smaller when discussing women of color in sports. She relates this to the idea that women aren’t interested in sports, and the panel discussed how this adversely affects the unequal coverage women in sports do receive. Davidson and Dr. Berri both mentioned that 40% of sports fans are women, but it seems that that number is smaller due to the belief that sports is “men’s space” as well as the difference between how sports coverage is approached between men’s and women’s sports, where in women’s sports, it’s common for reporters to focus on the fashion choices or aspects of women athletes more so than the sports aspect itself.

The discussion ended with Dr. Vartan asking Kavitha what advice she would give to the students in the audience who are interested in writing about sports and/or how race and gender is treated in sports. Kavitha began her response by saying, “Journalism is not dying, it’s shifting,” and how it is important to be skeptical, ask questions and dive deeper into why things are the way they are, constantly doubting facts that are told by others in order to seek knowledge for one’s self. “It’s part of our system of checks and balances,” Davidson says, “Don’t pigeonhole what journalism is and can be, but always be diligent,” encouraging future writers to question everything and seek answers for themselves.

by Emily Sexton


Audio Transcript