Where Are The Latinas in Sports? Allow Drafted to Show You

Growing up as a queer Latina in Southern California, Karina Martinez found comfort in playing sports in high school. Martinez, who came out as queer at 16, felt alone in a school of 700 other kids who were either straight or closeted. But when she played sports, those feelings of standing out went away. “When I played sports for that hour or two a day, I felt like everybody else,” she tells Refinery29 Somos.

The power of sports also aided Jennifer Yepez-Blundel’s personal development. Yepez-Blundel started playing volleyball and softball as a kid and continued to do so in college. When she chose sports marketing as a career, she realized her experiences as an athlete and multicultural perspective as a second-generation Mexican American were important for storytelling in a field that remains mostly white and male.

Despite having such strong connections to this world from an early age, Martinez and Yepez-Blundel didn’t feel represented as Latina women who play and enjoy watching sports. Throughout their adult life, they realized that Latinas are rarely in the spotlight in sports media. They didn’t even seem to exist to the rest of the world. But Martinez and Yepez-Blundel knew from experience that Latina athletes were key to the sports landscape — with their own fervent fans serving as proof of their importance. However, they also face access barriers that are specific to the intersection of gender and ethnicity — this invisibility only makes it more difficult for them to overcome these roadblocks. To address this gap, Martinez and Yepez-Blundel founded Drafted, a media company that focuses on highlighting Latina athletes and creating a community of Latina sports fans, in April 2023.  

“As a Latina, you face systemic barriers whether you want to play [a sport] or whether you want to work in the sports industry.”

Jennifer Yepez-Blundel

“As a Latina, you face systemic barriers whether you want to play [a sport] or whether you want to work in the sports industry,” Yepez-Blundel says. “Girls stop playing sports at a younger age than boys; they start dropping off around the age of 14, and the rates for Black and brown girls are even higher. There are core cultural beliefs, stereotypes, and interpersonal messages that really deter the success of girls in sports, and that affects the entire [sports] pipeline. If you’re dropping out at 14, you’re not playing in high school, in college, or at [a] professional level. Beyond that, we know most female executives have a sports background, so there are a lot of barriers in place for Latinas.”

In Drafted’s first attempt to highlight Latinas in sports, Martinez and Yepez-Blundel focused on producing stories about Latina fans. Despite the lack of these stories in sports media, these first few videos, posted on Drafted’s Instagram, didn’t perform …read more

Source:: Refinery29


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