RIP Stu Scott
By Jon Wolk
I will not lie and say I was a big fan of Stuart Scott, or that I liked his braggadocios delivery, or that I appreciated his slightly “I am better than you, whoever you are” arrogance, or his eponymous “Scott-isms”, like “BooYah”. I will not speak of his greatness as he was happy to tell you himself just how great he was. I will not speak of his glowing personality, or his dry, if sometimes self-serving, wit. I will not speak on how he was one of a small group of men and women, along with the late George Michael and his “Sports Machine”, Warner Wolf, Bob Ley, Dan Patrick, Chris Berman, and a few others, that helped truly revolutionize, and some would say over-hype, the modern American sports entertainment environment. Stuart along with those others changed the way we watched and reported on sports. I cannot tell you I was a fan of his attempt to walk-on for the NY Jets at Training camp in April 2002, and no, I took no pleasure with the permanent eye injury he received there.
I will say that I appreciated his being a man of color in a largely colorless landscape of Sports Anchors when he started out on ESPN2 in 1993. I can appreciate that he was an inspiration and a role model for a whole generation of young men and women of color who wanted to get in to sports casting. We can see the fruits of his hard work in the faces and voices we see today. Before him, men of color (There were few if any women) had to mostly “whitewash” their personalities on the air, but he was allowed to be creative, using cultural references and slang that loosened the ties and opened doors. While there was some criticism that he could be dismissive and somewhat arrogant, particularly behind-the-scenes, in his real world interactions, in radio and other interviews, from fans and other forums, that criticism cannot take away the great impact he has had, and will continue to have, on television and radio sports journalism for many generations to come.
From all accounts, he approached his battle with cancer with the same passion and gusto he brought to everything, on and off the air and from his first diagnosis in 2007 to his passing, he never stopped fighting. His quote from his July 2014 speech, when he was presented with the Jimmy V award at the ESPYS for his battle with cancer, says it all,
“When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.
Fight like hell, and when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let someone else fight for you.”