From Super Bowls to the Bulls, UHMP board member covered them all but said education is most important

Veteran sports reporter Joyner working on third post-graduate degree

Dyrol Joyner

By Aileen Delgado

After a 25 year journalism career covering some of sports’ highest-profile events and winning two Emmys, Dyrol Joyner joined Urban Health Media Project’s Board of Directors in December 2020.

Joyner, 62, covered Stanley Cup Finals, Super Bowls, and four NBA championships, including three of the Chicago Bulls six championships in the '90s. He’s covered marquee teams including the New York Yankees and New York Giants and had stints as a sideline reporter at networks such as FOX Sports and SportsChannel Chicago, working in posts based in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York. 

Up until 2017, he worked as a sports anchor and reporter at WPIX-TV in New York City and now lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his fiancée. 

His work covering sports– including contracts and negotiations– motivated Joyner to learn about the legal aspect of the industry and get a law degree with the aim of changing careers to become a sports/entertainment lawyer.

“I found myself in conversations where I was basically on the outside looking in with agents, attorneys, and teams,” he said. “It was imperative that I understood the legal aspect of the sports industry.” 

It didn’t hurt that law had always fascinated him, or that his father was an attorney who had pushed him to attend law school after college. “He stressed the importance of being able to communicate, and to understand the laws that affect you daily,” Joyner said.

Joyner received a master’s degree in Legal Studies at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in Arizona State University in 2018 and is now working towards a J.D. at the Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pa. 

He earned his undergraduate degree from Denison University, and his first master’s degree, in Mass Journalism, at American University. 

Education, and the success it brings, were non-negotiable in Joyner’s family, he said. His grandmother, who was an elementary and junior high school teacher, received a master’s degree in education in the 1960s when she was in her 50s. Joyner brings his wealth of reporting and legal knowledge to UHMP’s board, and he hopes to mentor students who want to tell sports health-related stories. He advises all young journalists to cover a variety of subjects. 

Students must also be prepared to take advantage of opportunities, like the workshops, internships and mentoring that UHMP offers, as they arise, he said.  

“A lot of people don’t have these opportunities to be mentored and have a foundation and an organization that will back them, walk them along and nurture them when they’re young,” he said. “I’ve always said that if I ever got in a position to help along those lines that I’d do my best to provide any sort of advice or input into a young journalist’s career.”  

Joining UHMP, with its focus on teaching journalism to students from under-represented and under-resourced communities, aligns with his views, he said.

“(UHMP) is a worthwhile organization, and the objectives are right down my alley.”

Interested in joining our board? Contact Jayne O’Donnell at jodonnell@urbanhealthmedia.org

Board Chair: Roz Gonzalez, Public Defender Service of DC

Members: Angela Kennedy Acree, JD, Public Defender Service of DC; Anna Durand Kraus, JD, Covington & Burling, Danzell Bussey, Richard Wright Public Charter School; Dyrol Joyner, former sports journalist; Courtland Milloy, Washington Post; Marcy Oppenheimer, M.D., Providence Diabetes Education Center; Carmen Ramos-Watson, B/adaptable; Jennifer Todling, Ernst & Young