E:60JournalismJournalism ShowcaseNFL

Salters and E:60 go in-depth with wrongly-imprisoned White Sox groundskeeper

Lisa Salters on the set of E:60. (Scott Clarke/ESPN Images)

This Sunday, E:60 (ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) will tell the complicated story of White Sox groundsman Nevest Coleman, who gained national attention when he was released from prison after serving 23 years of a life sentence for a brutal rape and murder he says he did not commit. He returned to his job with the White Sox this season.

Salters, along with producers Willie Weinbaum and Michael Sciallo, were determined to do a thorough piece that kept in mind the horrific murder and all the lives that were affected. The end result, “Grounds for Return,” is a gripping narrative of a still-unresolved crime.

Salters huddles with new MNF teammates

In addition to her E:60 reporting, Salters has been busy meeting with her new Monday Night Football teammates.

When MNF’s 49th season kicks off this fall, Salters will return to the sidelines for her seventh season, but the Emmy-nominated reporter is part of an all new ESPN team. The dynamic, new group will also feature play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore, analysts Jason Witten and Booger McFarland.

“We just spent a couple days together in New York and we had so much fun,” Salters said. “The positive vibes, the fun, and the swag is back! Everybody was laughing and enjoying each other. So you’re going to see people having a great time covering the game every Monday night.”

Tessitore, Witten, McFarland and Salters will make their regular-season debut on September 10 when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams (ESPN, 10:15 p.m. ET).

“We had to tell all the facts,” Salters said. “And I’m really proud of the journalism that we did. Willie and Michael are incredible. They were relentless and had a lot of off-the-record conversations.”

However, there were conversations the team couldn’t have at all. Beyond the victim, Antwinica “Mikey” Bridgeman, many involved with the case were reluctant to talk to E:60, likely because of pending litigation.

“It took a lot of convincing people to talk because they didn’t see an upside to talking with us,” Salters said. “No one from the law enforcement side or the prosecutor side was willing to talk initially.”

Salters credits the relentless efforts of Weinbaum and Sciallo in getting the right voices into the feature, including the case’s prosecutor, Brian Sexton, who is now in private practice. And she says her interview with Sexton – who still believes Coleman is guilty – caused her many sleepless nights.

“We all agreed that someone had to speak for this woman,” Salters said. “The bottom line is: She is dead and someone needs to speak on her behalf and fill in the blanks to try and find out what exactly happened to her.”

For Nevest Coleman, the journey from prison to exoneration is a story of time lost, new beginnings and a murder that remains a mystery, ESPN.com’s Wayne Drehs writes.

Journalism on Display



Back to top button