Kayla Grey is shifting conversations in sports media
The TSN anchor is going beyond sports and ready to tackle culture on her own show
By Radheyan Simonpillai
May 10, 2021
Courtesy of TSN / Vita Cooper
Kayla Grey has had a year. The TSN anchor who is launching a new sports and culture program called The Shift With Kayla Grey has stood in the eye of the storm during intense conversations around anti-Black racism in society and in media.
The sports world is especially toxic on such topics. Look at how Colin Kaepernick was ousted from the NFL, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was manhandled by a police officer just as his team became NBA champions and how a Fox News anchor told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” because basketball players shouldn’t talk politics.
As the first Black woman to anchor a national sportscast on TSN, Grey has stood firm on her advocacy and opinions while facing off against a culture that empowers the likes of Don Cherry. In response to so many questioning whether conversations about anti-Black racism belonged in sports media, TSN released the galvanizing video essay Where Can We Be Black? In Kayla Grey’s Words.
Search #KaylaGreyAppreciationDay and you’ll see what her voice means for so many people.
“We will have these very important conversations,” says Grey in an interview with NOW, speaking about what we could expect from The Shift. “I also want to make clear this is also to highlight our joy too. This is not just a space to revisit traumas. Over the last year maybe a lot of people have been introduced to me in that sense. But they have not been introduced to the funny Kay. They have not been introduced to someone that loves and partakes in other things.”
Kayla Grey plans go beyond sports and stats on The Shift, a bi-weekly program launching May 13 that will appear on a dedicated hub on TSN.ca. She’s taking on culture as a whole, with interviews and panels engaging in fashion and entertainment. Grey is not setting the politics and advocacy aside. But her focus is to grow from that.
“What happened since this last summer was that certain shows kept sexualizing our trauma,” says Grey. “We need that rebuild right now. Let’s remind us of who we are, our power, what we can do, what we have contributed and what we do accomplish. That’s what The Shift is going to be about.”
Watch NOW’s interview on The Shift With Kayla Grey below.
Radheyan's first assignment for NOW was reviewing the Ice Cube heist comedy First Sunday. That was back in January 2008. Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Scarborough, Rad currently lives in Leslieville with his wife and two adorable kids.