Sports Company Panini Under Fire For Zero Black Leadership, Boycott Demand of NBA, NFL, FIFA by Until Freedom
Until Freedom co-founder Tamika D. Mallory and Black Church Political Action Committee co-founder Reverend Michael McBride announced that they penned a letter to sports and entertainment collectibles organization Panini, criticizing the company’s lack of black leadership team and demanding immediate reform of its hiring practices.
Mallory and McBride issued the letter to Panini America CEO Mark Warsop on Monday, noting that while 75 percent of the organization’s business is dependent on black and brown athletes, the company’s leadership team doesn’t reflect its diverse athletes at all.
The fact there is zero black leadership is more appalling, considering Panini has generated billions in revenue off the backs of black and brown athletes. Furthermore, of the organization’s 800 employees listed on LinkedIn, only 3 are black employees. The disparity reaffirms that Panini has little to no black employees throughout its entire company.
As a result, Mallory and McBride gave the organization an ultimatum to take corrective action and hire black leadership to key positions immediately. If not, they plan to collectively urge Panini’s partners and its athletes – which include the likes of FIFA, NBA, NFL, NBA Players Association, NFL Players Association, and English Premier League – to boycott the company.
They also shared their demands for diversity with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, New York Attorney General Letitia James, and California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
In the letter, Mallory and McBride point out the hypocrisy in Panini’s business model, writing that “Panini’s simultaneous profiting from its collaborations with black and brown athletes on the one hand, and exclusion of black people from its leadership on the other hand, is unacceptable.”
Mallory is a nationally recognized civil rights activist and co-founded Until Freedom, which is an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. She served as the youngest-ever Executive Director of the National Action Network and was the co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington – the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Mallory delivered a powerful speech that was dubbed by many as “the speech of a generation.”
McBride co-founded Black Church PAC, which is a strategic initiative answering the call to elect leaders committed to ending mass incarceration, defending the right to vote, curbing gun violence, and representing the equitable treatment of Black and Brown communities.