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Tamika D. Mallory and Rev. Michael McBride Pen Letter Highlighting Lack of Black Leadership in Collectibles Organization Panini

Tamika D. Mallory, a co-founder of Until Freedom, and Reverend Michael McBride, a co-founder of the Black Church Political Action Committee, made the announcement that they had written a letter to sports and entertainment collectibles company Panini criticizing the company’s lack of a black leadership team and requesting immediate reform of its hiring practices.

Mallory and McBride sent the letter to Panini America CEO Mark Warsop on Monday, pointing out that even though black and brown athletes account for 75% of the company’s revenue, the company’s executive team in no way reflects the company’s diverse athlete base.

Mallory and McBride claim that the situation is even worse, given that Panini has made billions of dollars off black and brown players. In addition, only 3 of the 800 company employees listed on LinkedIn are black. The discrepancy confirms that Panini employs few to no black staff across the board.

Mallory and McBride issued an ultimatum to the company, demanding it takes urgent corrective action and employs black leadership in essential positions. If not, they intend to work together to push Panini’s athletes and partners, including the English Premier League, NBA, NFL, NBA Players Association, and FIFA, to boycott the firm.

Additionally, they spoke with the attorneys general of Texas, Ken Paxton, New York, Letitia James, and California, Rob Bonta, on their diversity requests.

In the letter, Mallory and McBride point out the hypocrisy in Panini’s business practices, writing that “Panini’s simultaneous profiting from its collaborations with black and brown athletes on the one hand, and exclusion of black people from its leadership on the other hand, is unacceptable.”

Mallory is a well-known civil rights activist who co-founded Until Freedom, an organization for intersectional social justice built on the leadership of people of color from various backgrounds to combat racial and systemic injustice. She co-chaired the Women’s March on Washington, the largest one-day protest in American history, and was the National Action Network’s youngest-ever executive director. Following George Floyd’s murder, Mallory gave a stirring speech that was hailed by many as “the speech of a generation.”

In response to the appeal for leaders committed to stopping mass imprisonment, defending the right to vote, reducing gun violence, and advocating for the equitable treatment of all people, McBride co-founded Black Church PAC.

You can read the full letter here.

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