The theme for this month’s ESPN+ Black History Always Special – Long Live Seven: The Bryce “Simba” Gowdy Story – focuses on mental health and the underreported topic of suicide among young, Black men. The short film will be available on Monday, November 29, exclusive to The Undefeated on ESPN+ digital platform. Trailer: https://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=32697382
Long Live Seven: The Bryce “Simba” Story is part of ESPN’s Black History Always storytelling initiative launched in February 2021 to curate original content celebrating Black history beyond the traditional month of February.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who uses his platform to raise mental health awareness, will narrate the 30-minute documentary.
Bryce “Simba” Gowdy, an elite student-athlete, signed a scholarship offer to play for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 2019. His Deerfield Beach (Fla.) community rejoiced with his family for another South Florida native closer to fulfilling a dream to play in the National Football League. Within days of starting his collegiate journey, the 17-year-old stepped in front of an oncoming freight train and died.
The film explores the circumstances that led Gowdy to suicide through the voice of his beloved mother Shibbon Mitchell, as she explains the survivor’s guilt that engulfed the high school athlete before his death. While the community celebrated him, the young Gowdy carried the hurt of “making it out” while his close-knit family lived in a car. Since her son’s death, Mitchell has turned her pain into a life purpose – advocating for behavioral and mental health awareness in the Black community.
Raina Kelley, ESPN Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, The Undefeated: “Mental Health and mental illness are subjects that have historically been back-burnered in Black communities. Not so at The Undefeated. Shibbon Mitchell went through unimaginable pain, yet she found a way to turn that pain into action. Long Live Seven shines a light in the work she is doing to raise awareness and normalize conversations around mental health in our community.”
“We appreciate Dak for his time and commitment to this project. His powerful and personal presence provides an impactful message on a difficult and emotional topic.”
Prescott: “The most important reason for me to be a part of this project is because Bryce has a legacy to continue to live on. His mom is doing a great job. With my platform, I just want to be able to help reach a kid out there that is going through what Bryce was experiencing, and to help save a life.”
The Undefeated on ESPN+ will serve as the exclusive home of Long Live Seven: The Bryce “Simba” Story available on Monday, November 29.
- Outside the Lines, ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning investigative journalism series that examines topical issues beyond the playing field, will dedicate its daily “OTL on SC” segment to the Bryce Gowdy Story on Thursday, Dec. 2, in the noon ET edition of SportsCenter. (Schedule subject to change).
- Dallas native and journalist Jean-Jacques Taylor, a former Dallas Morning News columnist, will pen a written piece for theundefeated.com.
The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting, and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans and sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of Black athletes, culture and related issues.
In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports, and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.