“Cancer can kill you, but it can also make you the man you always wanted to be.”
In “Every Day I Fight,” ESPN anchor Stuart Scott’s posthumous memoir, his voice is as distinctive and memorable as it ever was on-air. But this time the much-loved sportscaster’s play-by-play is a narration of his seven-year battle with cancer that ended with his death Jan. 4.
Written with Larry Platt, the memoir is both the story of a brash young man who took heat for being first to bring a hip-hop vibe to sports broadcasting and that of a 49-year-old father whose devotion to his two daughters only deepened throughout his illness.
“That’s what cancer does: It makes everything profound. It also makes everything urgent,” he wrote.
Scott, the son of a federal postal inspector and a school aide, joined ESPN2 in 1993, moving up to take the chair next to Craig Kilborn on “SportsCenter” in 1996. His look, “rocking the style of the day” with a baby high-top fade, signaled Scott was about to bring something entirely new to the show.
“Cool as the other side of the pillow.”
“Just call him butter ’cause he’s on a roll.”
GQ called him the “hip-hop Howard Cosell,” but there was also a backlash against his rap-inspired catch phrases. Some critics bashed his “urban-speak,” and he got hate mail from viewers. But Scott refused to dial it back, even appearing in music videos with rappers LL Cool J and Luke.
“I brought the in-your-face attitude of the music I came up on — hip hop — to ‘SportsCenter.’ That wasn’t a planned thing; it was just who I was. Yeah, I’m young, I’m African-American, and I’m telling you about this game like I’m talking trash with my boys back home.”
Other critics said he soft-balled questions with athletes, acting more a friend than a reporter. And the case was he had personal relationships with stars like Michael Jordan (a pal from his days at the University of North Carolina), Tiger Woods and LeBron James, among others.
But “gotcha” journalism just wasn’t his game.
“I’m interested in explaining, not judging,” he wrote. “The rapport I have with athletes comes not from slapping hands with them but having played sports . . . . I saw my role as droppin’ knowledge.”
Indeed, Scott first displayed the incredible tenacity he met cancer with on the football field, continuing to play though an eye disease coupled with sports-related injuries resultin in 18 surgeries throughout his life. In 2012, for instance, his eyeball split open after he took a football in the face on the field with the New York Jets.
He was every bit as determined about getting back to life, and work, after every bout of cancer, no matter how debilitating the treatment.
“If I’m too weak to work, I’m too weak to live,” he wrote.
Scott was in Pittsburgh preparing to co-host a “Monday Night Football” matchup in November 2007 when he got the diagnosis. Stomach pains sent him to the hospital, where he had an emergency appendectomy. Expecting to be quickly released, he was surprised when a doctor showed up at his bedside and said there were complications.
“You have cancer,” he was told.
Scott recalled his first thoughts as being, “I’m going to die” and “I won’t be here for my daughters.”
Taelor and Sydney were 12 and 8 at the time. Though Scott was divorced from their mother, Kim, he was a very involved father, sneaking into their rooms at night just to watch them sleep. Even if time was of the essence, Scott insisted surgery had to wait until he made it back to Connecticut to tell his daughters in person.
Cancer of the appendix is a rare disease with no symptoms. Scott read the statistics on the Web and came to a decision. He told his doctor after that first surgery that the one thing he didn’t want to know was his prognosis. He had no interest in how long anyone else thought he had to live.
To read the rest of the article visit the NY Daily News where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Gregg Giannotti: Booger McFarland Take on Zach Wilson ‘Just Stupid’
“You gotta draft a quarterback that grows up poor. I’ve been saying that since the beginning of time. Those are the guys that you need.”
Last night, Booger McFarland had harsh criticism for New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, saying he was “a young man who grew up with a lot of money” and has never “had to accept accountability”. Fellow Monday Night Countdown analyst Steve Young pushed back on the criticism, and he was backed up by WFAN’s Boomer & Gio Tuesday, with Gregg Giannotti taking a strong stance.
Young, who went to BYU like Wilson, immediately countered McFarland’s analysis, saying “that doesn’t resonate at all”.
“Steve’s gonna obviously protect his buddy,” Esiason said. “He’s a BYU quarterback as well, and lives out there. I’m sure they know each other very. That’s kind of a — I don’t wanna say it’s a cheap shot — but that’s the thought process a lot of people have with Zach.”
“You gotta draft a quarterback that grows up poor,” Giannotti said sarcastically. “I’ve been saying that since the beginning of time. Those are the guys that you need. That’s a stupid take. His uncle is the one who’s a billionaire. It’s not even his family.”
Wilson’s uncle is David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways.
Angelo Cataldi Bans Michael Irvin From WIP Morning Show After Cowboy Comments
“Michael Irvin is a moron. Michael Irvin is a blithering idiot, and I will now prove it to you.”
The Philadelphia Eagles are on a roll this season, and 94WIP morning man Angelo Cataldi is not accepting criticisms of his team, and former Cowboy Michael Irvin is now in the crosshairs.
Irvin caught the ire of Cataldi after comments he made on First Take Monday about the greatness of the Dallas Cowboys.
“Earlier in the year, I featured comments made by Michael Irvin, then had him on the show and kissed his ass” Cataldi said. “Michael Irvin is a moron. Michael Irvin is a blithering idiot, and I will now prove it to you. ‘Oh my god, they won 40-3. Oh my god, let me start kissing the Cowboys ass again.’ Listen to Michael Irvin on ESPN yesterday.”
The show then played a clip of Irvin saying the Cowboys played a near perfect game, that showcased the best of their abilities, which saw the animated Irvin shouting in praise.
“Guy’s a moron. After calling the Eagles a dynasty in the offseason, he has changed his mind now. And guess who the best team is to him? You’re a moron, Michael Irvin! So I hereby decree that Michael Irvin is banned from the WIP Morning Show.”
“For the next two months,” co-host Rhea Hughes joked, alluding to Cataldi’s upcoming retirement.
“No! He’s done! Wait a minute,” Cataldi chuckled. “She’s right. She got me. For the next two months he’s banned, and then after that, all bets are off. And if he calls me at home, I’m not taking it!”
Frank Frangie Prepared 20 Minutes of “Blowout Material” For Ohio State/Maryland Broadcast
“We almost went through it — almost rehearsed it — because I was convinced we were looking at 35-10 at the half. That’s just the way the Ohio State games go.”
1010XL afternoon host Frank Frangie had the opportunity to work as the play-by-play announcer for the Ohio State/Maryland game for Touchdown Radio Productions over the weekend, and discussed his preparation for the game on his show Monday.
Frangie serves as the radio voice of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the franchise had its bye week last Sunday, and was available to work for Touchdown Radio.
“I had the Ohio State/Maryland game, and I was so worried about a blowout and K.C. Jones — the former center from Miami who did the game with me and was on a couple of those Broncos Super Bowl teams — we had about 20 minutes of blowout material prepared,” Frangie said. “So much so that we almost went through it — almost rehearsed it — because I was convinced we were looking at 35-10 at the half. That’s just the way the Ohio State games go.”
Luckily for Frangie, and listeners/viewers of the game, it was a back-and-forth affair that saw Ohio State secure a late touchdown to extend a lead to 43-30.
“It was a hell of a game,” Frangie concluded.