Maria Taylor Shines Brightly on ESPN’s Big Stage
Maria Taylor has a coveted job with ESPN as a college football reporter and host, but she’s far from being an overnight sensation. She worked her way up from local markets to prime time, battling stereotypes and other obstacles along the way.
“Being a black woman in this world is like you have an invisible struggle, like you’re barely seen,” Taylor said in an interview with Xoneocle. “Yeah, you’re a woman, but you’re black, that’s different. So race doesn’t recognize it. Gender doesn’t fully recognize it because you’re a black woman. So, who’s really fighting your fight? And it’s just us.”
Taylor, who works on College GameDay, ESPN’s wildly successful football show, learned to have thick skin while growing up as a talented athlete in the south.
She went on to play both volleyball and basketball at the University of Georgia, so she was fully prepared for the tough moments on the job, like the time University of Alabama’s Nick Saban snapped at her during an on-field interview.
“I’ve been yelled at by coaches since I was 12 years old playing AAU basketball,” Taylor said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. “I’ve been called everything under the sun, and by any coach you can imagine. As a sideline reporter, you’re in the line of fire, and I just got lit up once. And that’s fine.”
Taylor has become an inspiration and role model for a lot of women who want to get into the sports television industry. She offers sage advice to them.
“The best thing that you can do to break down any of the barriers that women face in sports is to be over prepared – know your value, but also know the subject matter that you’re covering,”Taylor told NBC News. “That way, when a guy comes to you with a question about a certain team or player, you don’t pause. You are confident in yourself and your knowledge base.”
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