ESPN Publishes Poetry Tribute to Convicted Cop Killer on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List


Superintendent of New Jersey State Police stands next to posters during May 2013 news conference giving updates on search of Joanne Chesimard / AP
• April 27, 2017 1:28 pm

ESPN published a poetry tribute earlier this week to Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a police officer and is currently on the FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorists" list.

The sports network, which has expanded beyond providing sports analysis, published five poems about political resistance and feminism on the "ESPNW" section of ESPN's website, which is geared towards women's voices.

The poem dedicated to Shakur, who changed her name from Joanne Deborah Chesimard, is titled "Revolution" and was written by DaMaris B. Hill, an assistant professor of creative writing and African American studies at the University of Kentucky.

"Dr. Hill's scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticism, cultural studies, and digital humanities," her website says.

An excerpt of Hill's poem reads:

Revolution is the impulse
that follows. It's a relative that
wrings you 'round the elbow,
a human leash to snatch you
from dreaming. The last time
I saw revolution, she was being dragged
on her tip toes and screaming

ESPN has since taken down the poem, writing in an editor's note that it was not appropriate for the website.

"An earlier version of "Five Poets on the New Feminism" featured ‘Revolution' by Dr. DaMaris Hill. We have decided it is not an appropriate selection for our site, and have removed it from the feature," the note said.

A spokesperson told Fox News on Thursday that Hill's poem was published because of "an oversight in the editorial process."

"There was an oversight in the editorial process for selecting the poems for the ‘Five Poets on the New Feminism' feature on espnW," the spokesperson said. "Dr. DaMaris Hill is a respected professor and poet, who submitted this poem based upon her personal feelings toward Assata Shakur. While the editors welcomed a contribution from a notable writer and chose it as a reflection of this one poet's experience, upon further review we have decided it is not an appropriate selection for our site and have removed the piece from the feature."

The website changed the title of its feature to "Four Poets on the New Feminism."

Shakur was convicted in 1977 of murdering a New Jersey state trooper and sentenced to prison, where she escaped in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984. Her escape from prison made her an icon of black power enthusiasts, the Washington Post reported.

She was the the first woman to be named on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list when the agency put her on it in May 2013, the 40th anniversary of the murder. There is currently a $1 million reward for information leading to her capture and return to the United States.

UPDATED 3:05 P.M.: This post was updated to include an ESPN spokesperson's comments to Fox News.