Joining a gaggle of other networks ranging from QVC to BET, ESPN now says it has special programming plans for the Obama inauguration and Martin Luther King Day, the holiday that precedes it on Jan. 19.
On Jan. 20, starting at 1 p.m., one hour after the inauguration proceedings begin in Washington, ESPN Classic will unspool a 10 hour marathon, Breaking Barriers, that will highlight famous African American sports stars including tennis star Arthur Ashe, boxer Jack Johnson, NBA star Bill Russell, college football star Ernie Davies, and college football legends Eddie Robinson and Willie Jeffries who all struggled for fairness and equity. The day before ESPN Classic uses the Breaking Barriers banner for a seven hour program highlighting such black stars as Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.
On ESPN, SportsCenter will cover the inauguration itself starting at 11:30 Jan 20 with Jeremy Schaap interviewing sports stars in attendance. All day long on various ESPN platforms, the networks will present vignettes featuring athletes about what the Obama election means to them. One of those interviewed is Craig Robinson, the Oregon State head basketball coach--and Obama's brother-in-law.
On ESPN.com the Web site takes a look at how past presidents have affected athletics and physical fitness, with a encouragement to Obama to encourage more physical activity by children. Also, ESPN's Len Shapiro lists pros and cons of Washington D.C. area golf courses where the Commander in Chief can take out his frustrations, or more likely, if he's like most golfers, take on some more.