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Mile High Morning: Broncos VP China Jude selected as one of '50 Most Influential Black People in Sports' by USA TODAY Sports


The Lead

To recognize the reach of Black people in American sports today during Black History Month, USA TODAY's Sports, Race and Inequality Editor Mike Freeman and USA TODAY Sports staff members created the inaugural “50 Most Influential Black People in Sports” list with the help of journalists and historians.

"Of course, influence goes beyond sports or solely what happens on the field," they wrote. "It can be money and power, or social media presence, or bravery, or fame, or being a singular example in a sport or position where there are few people who look like them. Or, it is all of those things."

Broncos Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion China Jude earned distinction as one of those selected, as she was listed at No. 30.

"Jude is the team's vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion," USA TODAY Sports wrote. "Positions like hers still remain rare in the NFL. Recently, she held a virtual roundtable with NFL and HBCU cheer coaches and choreographers. The goal is to diversity NFL cheerleading teams."

Jude's impact also has included "Critical Conversations," which has included remote panels with state representative Leslie Herod discussing discrimination in hair style and ESPN's Tiffany A. Greene speaking about Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Below the Fold

With the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine just a little over a week away,'s Bucky Brooks has given us his first position-by-position top-five rankings of draft prospects. As always, the most interest is on the quarterbacks, who are led by Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Malik Willis and then Sam Howell, according to Brooks' ranking.

"The former Pitt standout is the most pro-ready of the prospects due to his experience and expertise running an offense with pro-style concepts," Brooks wrote. "Willis has boom-or-bust potential with an intriguing set of tools that will have some coaches comparing him to Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson as a possible "one-man show" at the next level. Howell flies a bit under the radar due to a slow start to the 2021 season that overshadowed a solid campaign overall."

The Unclassifieds

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