I was wrong. I created a culture at BSO that I am not proud of and I am genuinely sorry. Words, alone, will never be enough to express how sorry I am to the women for the pain that I caused to them, while they wrote for BSO. Furthermore, I have zero excuses for my conduct. I was wrong. I was wrong for the way that I treated Sheena Quick. I was wrong when Tamantha Gunn explicitly told me that BSO’s working environment was toxic, and I did not take any immediate actions to make her feel safer. I was wrong when Quierra Luck immediately came to Tam’s defense, and I still did not take immediate action to make Tam feel safer at work.
Luck threw me a lifeline. A lifeline that I did not deserve. However, instead of listening to Luck’s advice and using it as an opportunity to grow, I blew it. Instead of listening to Luck’s advice, I arrogantly pushed forward.
When I created BSO, I wanted to distinguish myself from the rest of the media playing field. I intended to create a brand for Us. So, it has been extremely difficult for me to accept that I directly contributed to the problem that I am supposed to be helping to change. I failed.
Believe Black women. Period.
I have individually reached out to Tam, Luck, Sheena, and others to express how sorry I am. Unfortunately, my apologies were years behind schedule. I hope that I have an opportunity to repair these relationships and friendships. However, if they never speak to me again, I completely understand. They would be justified not to.
Without self-reflection, there is no growth. While I have grown personally and professionally over the last several years, it does not excuse the mistakes I made in the past. Part of growth is recognizing those mistakes and trying to make things right, but instead, I just moved on, not realizing the hurt I left behind. No matter what you are doing in the present, that doesn’t excuse your past.
Actions speak louder than words. Moving forward, I will do better. I can promise you that. I won’t hide behind a pre-rehearsed apology either because I do not want to be that person. I am accountable for my actions, or lack thereof, and I will continue to hold myself accountable in the future. In 2020, BSO was one of the leading voices of the Black community during this very troubling time in our country. I hope that the people, who I let down and failed, will look at my actions and will give me a second chance to prove myself worthy of that voice. The percentage of black people within the industry is so small, that I want to do my part to be a positive force moving forward.
In order to start this process, BSO will be establishing an Advisory Board, composed of independent men and women to advise me as a single business owner going forward. I have long said that one of my goals at BSO was to hold the media and athletes accountable for their actions, which includes me as well, so I am glad that I was held accountable. BSO will work with contributors directly to make sure that they feel safe and appreciated as BSO’s goal will continue to be to help minority reporters in this industry.
There is never going to be an apology that I could ever give that would go far enough here. I just want Tam, Luck, Sheena, and everyone else to know that I am truly sorry.
Robert Littal, CEO BlackSportsOnline