Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has contributed $100,000 to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Covid-19 Relief Fund, the organization told CNBC.
The fund was established by NABJ to assist both sports and non-sports journalists whose jobs have been impacted by layoffs due to the pandemic. Cuban told CNBC the donation was to honor former sportswriters, Roger B. Brown and Martin McNeal, "two legends in the business that I had the pleasure of working with via the Mavs.”
"I asked [lMavericks.com writer] Dwain Price what he thought of the idea, which he was very, very supportive of, so I went ahead with it," Cuban told CNBC via email.
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Brown, who became the first full-time black sportswriter and columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, died on May 18. McNeal, who also covered the Mavericks before moving to the Sacramento Bee died on May 21.
"On behalf of the NABJ Sports Task Force, we are honored that Mark Cuban has stepped up in such a meaningful, impactful way at a time when so many are in need," A. Sherrod Blakely, Chair of the NABJ Sports Task Force, said in a statement.
Journalism jobs had been hit hard due to the pandemic. Outlets from traditional newspapers and digital subscription sites like The Athletic, which recently laid off 8% of its staff, have been forced to cut writers as sports leagues went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dorothy Tucker, NABJ president, praised Cuban’s assistance to ensure more black journalists have the "financial support needed to navigate through this critical time."
"To know we will have more resources to provide to our members via our relief efforts is encouraging," Tucker said in a statement. "The journalism profession has played a pivotal role in helping to save lives by reporting crucial information. Mr. Cuban’s donation will help so many of our members sacrifice their time and talents to ensure that the public is well-informed about Covid-19."
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