On Sunday, longtime “SportsCenter” anchor and ESPN personality Stuart Scott died after a long battle with cancer.
Smith told Martin that Scott was an inspiration to him and to many others who are “trying to do this job the way he (Stuart Scott) did it so successfully and so illustriously throughout the years.”
“To know that he’s gone, to see somebody so vibrant, so full of life — to be gone from us at the age of 49 — it’s hard to put into words how heartbreaking it is,” said Smith.
Martin and Smith also talked about the challenges as well as the criticisms that Scott faced for bringing his style of sportscasting to ESPN.
Martin said, “I don’t think people really understand what it feels like to be an African-American man in mainstream media, when you are trying to be your own person and folks are giving you resistance. There were still people [at ESPN] who felt a bit put off or a bit uncomfortable with [Scott’s] delivery or presentation.” Smith added Scott had to “endure that at the very beginning.”
“I constantly tell folks in White America and beyond time and time again: White folk come to work with a job to do, we come to work with a responsibility. When we are in the public eye and we are one of the few that have a voice as an African American, the pressure emanates from your own community.”
“Make sure you do this, make sure you do that, don’t let us down, etcetera, etcetera. We don’t have the luxury of just going to work everyday and just doing our job. We have to do it in a way that our own community feels it’s representative in a very good way of who we are and what we want projected about ourselves. And as a result of that, obviously Stuart Scott had an immense amount of pressure because in the process of recognizing that responsibility and understanding it, he still wanted to make sure that he was himself, not because of the pressure, but because he wanted to be who he wanted to be and he wanted that to be ok.
Smith told Martin, “The perseverance, the due diligence, the work ethic, everything that he’s put forth, you just can’t say enough about it.”
Listen to Martin and Stephen A. Smith reflect on the life and legacy of ESPN’s Stuart A. Scott in the audio clip below.
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