Morgan, Bird, Kim, Manuel Co-Found 'TOGETHXR' to Elevate Women's Voices

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird poses for a photo after the team won basketball's WNBA Championship Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel and Sue Bird have partnered to found TOGETHXR, a media brand focused on women's sports and lifestyle. 

Self's A.A. Newton pointed to a 2018 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization that women's sports receive around four percent of the total sports media coverage.

Bird, the four-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm and four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, explained how that figure motivated her to act.

"The piece of the pie we have is so small," she said. "When there's such a small piece ... you almost have to fight with one another to get it. I'm glad that we're now at a point where [female athletes] all kind of look at each other like, 'Wait, what? That's not the problem here. The problem is we need a bigger piece.'"

Morgan, a two-time World Cup winner, told the New York Times' Kevin Draper and Talya Minsberg the project is "going to be something that really breaks barriers."

"Something that creates a community and a platform from female athletes for female athletes that has never been done before," Morgan said.

Manuel also discussed how female athletes are covered in the media, saying women are "bursting at the seams to tell these stories" and how sponsorship opportunities are limited.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

"Being a woman, you are told you are too much or not enough of any one thing, all the time, especially in sports," she said. "It is a consciousness that isn't even ingrained, it is a byproduct. If we are talking literal financial opportunities, you have to dimensionalize yourself because there isn't enough respect for women athletes and their athletic performance."

In general, women's sports appear to be riding a wave of momentum.

While almost every major sports league across the country saw its viewership dip amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ratings for the National Women's Soccer League experienced a surge in popularity for its fall Challenge Cup.

Players from the WNBA also made headlines during the 2020 season for their social justice activism. They also brought attention to the campaign of Rev. Raphael Warnock early into his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, which he eventually won in a run-off in January.

Their support for Warnock was an explicit rebuke of incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who until recently had an ownership stake in the Atlanta Dream and had previously spoken out against the league and its players focusing on social justice and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.