Steve Fainaru is a Pulitzer and Emmy-winning senior writer in ESPN’s investigative unit.
He is the author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, which won the PEN/ESPN award for literary sports writing. League of Denial, written with his brother, ESPN reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada, was adapted into a documentary film for PBS Frontline and won both the George Polk Award and a Peabody Award.
Fainaru came to ESPN in 2012 and in 2018, he won an Emmy for outstanding sports journalism for “The Dictator’s Team,” an E60 piece on Syria’s national soccer team. His work at ESPN also includes, with his brother Mark, dozens of pieces on the NFL’s concussion crisis and an investigation into abuses at NBA training academies in China.
Fainaru spent 10 years at The Washington Post as an investigative reporter in sports, national reporter and foreign correspondent. He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for a series on private security contractors in the Iraq war. During his career at The Boston Globe, he covered the Red Sox, Wall Street and Latin America and worked as an investigative reporter on the national desk. In 2010, Fainaru helped found The Bay Citizen, an online news organization in San Francisco.
Fainaru graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and received a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He is the author of Big Boy Rules: America’s Mercenaries in Iraq, which was published in the fall of 2008, and is the co-author of The Duke of Havana: Baseball, Cuba and the Search for the American Dream, which chronicled the odyssey of pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez and his defection from post-Cold War Cuba.
He lives in Berkeley, Calif., with his wife, the journalist and author Maureen Fan.