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May 17, 2016, 11:44 a.m.
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LINK: theundefeated.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   May 17, 2016

The Undefeated really, truly, at long last launched Tuesday. ESPN’s long-awaited (33 months!) race, sports, and culture site is live, now helmed by Kevin Merida, former managing editor of the Washington Post. The site features four sections — sports, culture, historically black colleges and universities, and a section for shorter, positive stories — and will be updated daily with 10 to 15 pieces of new content.

The site is geared toward African Americans — a “no-brainer for ESPN,” ESPN’s public editor Jim Brady wrote in his column about the launch. The network has been looking to capture male African-American readers between 18 and 34 years old.

At launch, the site features a wide selection of stories, including a piece on the press conference–averse retired Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch (by Lonnae O’Neal, who joined The Undefeated after 24 years at the Washington Post) and a reflection from poet Terrance Hayes on Maya Angelou (The Undefeated takes its name from a quote of hers).

Merida wrote in an editor’s note for the site:

We’ll make sure you get to know who we are. We’ll produce a rich mix of original reporting, innovative storytelling, provocative commentary, must-see video, narratives and investigations. We aim to be vibrant, soulful, smart, dope. Unapologetic and unpredictable. We will work hard to live up to our motto: Not conventional. Never boring. Make sure you read senior writer Lonnae O’Neal’s engaging profile of Marshawn Lynch, one of the most mysterious and misunderstood athletes of our time. And you won’t want to miss senior writer Jesse Washington’s powerful reported essay on one of the most infamous and brutal lynchings in American history — of a young man also named Jesse Washington.

At The Undefeated, every day will feature a surprise. Every day, some joy. And no day without swagger. We want The Undefeated to feel urgent, necessary, not dutiful. Ours won’t be a site of sermons and scoldings (unless, of course, they’re earned).

We’ll work hard to win your loyalty, and listen to your feedback. One feature we’re particularly excited about, “You Got 99 words,” will allow you to post your own thoughts on our site. We’ll tee up questions each day to provoke your mind and encourage debate.

The response to the launch has been jubilation — and some relief. Since Jason Whitlock announced in the summer of 2013 that he would be starting a “Black Grantland” with ESPN, the site has been beset by controversy, centered mostly around its former editor-in-chief‘s incompetence. And ESPN abruptly shuttered Grantland itself last October.

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