MJ Acosta-Ruiz on Bringing More NFL Coverage in Spanish to Latinx Viewers

Plus, sports as a unifier toward a common goal

MJ Acosta-Ruiz is host of NFL Total Access on the NFL Network. Acosta-Ruiz is the first-ever Afro-Latina and woman of color to host a show at the NFL Network. Fully bilingual in English and Spanish, she also contributes across multiple platforms for NFL Mexico and NFL Español.

MJ was recently honored as People Magazine en Español’s Women of Courage and Power. She was also featured in Essence Magazine showcasing her advocacy for natural hair in the professional spaces and equality for diverse and underrepresented communities. MJ works closely with women’s empowerment groups such as A Seat at the Table, and is dedicated to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

An Emmy-winning sportscaster, Acosta-Ruiz joined NFL Network in 2018 from NBC and Telemundo in San Diego, where she covered the Chargers, Padres and international soccer for three seasons in both English and Spanish language broadcasts as lead sports anchor. Prior to that, she spent three years as a reporter for WPLG, the ABC affiliate in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, covering sports, entertainment and breaking news. 

A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, Acosta-Ruiz graduated from Barry University with a bachelor of arts in Communications. We spoke to MJ for our Time-Out series, where we chat with folks in the sports world about their favorite athletes, teams, sports movies and shows, and their love of sports generally.

MJ, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Miami, Florida, by way of Washington Heights, NYC. Currently I live in Los Angeles.

Your favorite sports memory.

A tie between my first Yankees game (old stadium) with my dad, and covering Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

Your favorite sports teams.

MLB: New York Yankees
NBA: Miami Heat
NFL: Miami Dolphins

Your favorite athlete.

Derek Jeter.

Your favorite sports show or podcast.

NFL Total Access. :)

Your favorite sports movie.

Remember the Titans.

A recent project you're proud of.

Working with the NFL International team to bring more coverage in Spanish to the Latinx community.

Por La Cultura: MJ Acosta-Ruiz on the Impact of Latinx Heritage in the NFL
Someone else's project that you admired recently.

Hard to pick just one. There is a lot of work being done across the sports landscape to be more inclusive and diverse for women, LGBTQ+, as well as Black, brown and minority communities.

What sports can do that nothing else can.

I've always said sports is the most ubiquitous outlet there is. Even if you know nothing about what's going on the field/court of play, sports can galvanize people for a common goal.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the sports world.

I'd run my own dance studio.

Time-Out is a weekly series, publishing on Tuesdays, where we chat with folks in the sports world about their creative inspirations, favorite athletes, teams, sports movies and more, and what sport means to them. For more about Time-Out, and our Clio Sports program, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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