It's been over five years since Cari Champion hosted her last edition of ESPN's First Take and several years since she left ESPN entirely. But this week she opened up on what it was like at the network.
Appearing on I Am Athlete, Champion said that while she appreciated getting the job and working with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, she didn't feel like she mattered. She said that she was made to feel like she should be happy to be there and not offer creative input.
"The problem was, for me as a black woman in that position - and at the time nobody was Monday through Friday on a popular two-hour TV show that was a black woman - and they let me know I didn't matter. Intentionally, unintentionally, it was obvious. It was like 'You don't matter, just be happy that you're here.'"
Strong words from Champion. The mentality certainly might explain why she left the show after less than three years in the role if she was feeling that way.
Cari Champion has proven to have strong journalistic and storytelling instincts. She has done work for E:60 and hosted SportsCenter up until her departure in 2020.
It's hard to know what was going on behind the scenes at First Take to make Champion feel to ostracized. But it appears that she's landed on her feet since leaving the show.
Champion now co-hosts Cari & Jemele (Won't) Stick To Sports with Jemele Hill on Vice TV. She is also now a host on the CNN+ app.