By Jillian Risavi and Thomas Edson
On Jan 4, the journalism world lost a great friend and colleague. ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott, 49, died of appendecetal cancer after battling the disease since 2007. “I will remember Stuart’s unique ability to be himself on T.V.,” said ESPN Monday Night Football and College Basketball analyst Mike Tirico.
“I didn’t know that he was sick until he died,” said Jamesville-DeWitt High School sophomore Matt Cappelletti, who watches ESPN regularly. Student counselor Will Hartley found out about Scott’s death while listening to ESPN Radio one morning. Many other people found out through watching ESPN or other news networks. Twitter and other social media were also sourcesof information on the breaking news of Scott’s death.
While many people might not have known that Scott was sick, ESPN was prepared for the worst. According to Tirico, they had been preparing a tribute to Scott a few months before his death, and unfortunately they had to use it so soon. “You brace for something like that, but it never really prepares you for the news itself,” said Tirico.
Many people were saddened by the news. “I was very sad. He was really young and didn’t deserve to die,” said sophomore Julia Kelner, who watches ESPN Sports Center, like Cappelletti. Hartley agrees with Kelner and adds that he was one of the original ESPN anchors, so it had a stronger impact. Senior Emily Clapper agrees with Kelner, and adds that it was also unfortunate because he has two daughters and a wife. Sophomore Eric Antosh thought his death was a loss to the community because of his popularity and charm. Hartley agrees with Antosh, adding that Scott’s charm was due to his ability to make presenting the sports news less serious, and more fun.
Many famous people who die of a disease become a face for that illness. Jimmy Valvano, a former North Carolina State Head Men’s Basketball Coach died of cancer in 1993. He quickly became a figurehead and has a foundation named after him. Clapper believes that Scott will become a figurehead for the disease because many people looked up to him. Scott’s road to becoming a figurehead is off to a fast start, as ESPN announced that there would be a branch of Valvano’s V Foundation called the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. The branch was created to fund cancer research for minority groups, such as African-Americans.
Scott’s death will have a lasting effect on many people. “It will change watching Sports Center. He made it funnier and less serious,” said Antosh. J-DHS guidance counselor Denise Becher says that she feels worse for the people who worked with Scott at ESPN because they were close friends and have suffered a great loss. Becher, who watches a lot of ESPN, also adds that some of his signature phrases, like “Boo-Yah”, will be “put in the rafters with him so nobody can take his number. The things he said will be retired like a jersey number.”
Twitter and Instagram were full of tweets and posts describing how it will be different to watch Sports Center without Scott being an anchor. Even President Obama tweeted’ “I will miss Stuart Scott. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us-with courage and love.”