Today marks the 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. ESPN celebrates the day with four new “Content of Character” vignettes, available across ESPN platforms. Each 30-second piece features prominent sports figures sharing their perspectives on the civil rights activist. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Team USA men’s soccer midfielder DaMarcus Beasley are among those participating.
“Dr. King paved a way for all minorities. . . We realize that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Dr. King,” said former NFL and MLB star Bo Jackson.
Front Row spoke with George Richards III, the associate producer who worked on creating this year’s content.
How are this year’s vignettes different from previous versions?
One thing we wanted to do different was ask our interviewees what they would say to Martin Luther King Jr. if he was still alive today. I believe that helped to create real emotion in every athlete we spoke to.
How did you get involved with this project?
I was asked by [Coordinating Producer] Galen Gordon if I was interested in working on the Martin Luther King Jr. [MLK] project. He assigned me to produce the vignettes this year. I worked with the Features [Unit] to gather MLK sound their producers shot, in addition to their own features. It was a true team effort.
Is this the first time you worked on the MLK vignettes?
No, I worked on the Content of Character: Image of the Black Athlete several years ago. The show was a town hall in Atlanta with [ESPN commentator] Bob Ley and [“Good Morning America” co-host and former SportsCenter anchor] Robin Roberts. I was a young production assistant at the time but it was a learning experience.