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Spencer Fearon: “Diversity in sport needs to change”

OPINION: Spencer Fearon

SPENCER FEARON has said that opportunities within the boxing industry can be extremely difficult if you are not an ex fighter, and that boardrooms have a severe lack of diversity.

“I see cowards within the sport, people complaining about the same thing but not doing anything about it and If I question it, suddenly I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” he said.

The 45-year-old says that media accreditation can be hard to come by for BAME reporters and cameramen, and this needs to change. “People message me and say they can’t get accreditation, there are many guys at the voice newspaper who don’t get accredited to fights. They were the first people to cover Anthony Joshua and now can’t get accredited, its wrong.”

Leading by example, Fearon said he is looking to use his platform to keep having conversations around it until things change “What these guys don’t realise, if I don’t say something, I’m going to be a punk, we complain about our dismay, we complain about our lack of representation, but nobody will do anything about it as there scared… I know my worth, I want other people to recognise their power too.”

On how things need to change, the Toe2Toe podcast host said that people need to remain authentic once they reach a certain level. “What I’ve noticed is, when black people get into positions, they forget their blackness, I’m not forgetting my blackness as I love who I am, I love my culture, when people get into certain positions they think “I’m alright” this needs to change.”

He added that the issue is not just restricted to boxing, and that there hasn’t been enough progress since the days of the likes of Muhammad Ali. “I’m not just talking about boxing, football too, were still in a position where the system says ‘you’re okay to entertain us, you can be the entertainer, let’s see how fast you can run, but if you’re trying to move into anything else, it’s a different story’. You’ve seen it happen, no managerial roles, none of that, you can be the heavyweight champion of world that’s great, are they allowing you to be a manager of a football club? No!”

On moving forward, Fearon says the power to make changes rests as much with the people trying to get in as much as the hierarchy and urges BAME people to celebrate themselves and not suffer with imposter syndrome.

“There’s is a lack of diversity in boardrooms, in sport, only way to change it is to change the social and economic thinking paradigm of black people. People tell me I need to be careful with what I am saying, but I don’t care, I need to speak out.”

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