NABJ Mourns The Loss of Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Posted by: Aprill Turner
WASHINGTON (December, 4, 2014) -- NABJ mourns the passing of pioneering sports journalist Bryan Burwell.
Burwell, 59, died early Thursday after a short battle with cancer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he was a columnist.
“Someone said earlier that Bryan was one of the most important sports journalists of his generation, and I think that is a fitting tribute,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “Bryan was an extraordinary talent who could move with ease between mediums. He was dogged in his pursuit of a good story and he was fair to the people he wrote about. He will be missed.”
According to the Post-Dispatch, Burwell joined the paper in 2002 after his highly successful stint as a sports correspondent for HBO's Inside the NFL. He also wrote columns for USA TODAY and The Detroit News, both owned by Gannett Co. Inc. In addition, he worked at the New York Daily News and New York Newsday.
In 2007, the Associated Press Sports Editors named Burwell one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the country. He was a regular on ESPN's The Sports Reporters and also worked at Turner Sports.
In 2011, he wrote a biography about former Raiders coach and football analyst John Madden.
"Bryan Burwell was a legendary journalist who broke color barriers and was beloved by journalists of all colors,” said NBA writer Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, who’s also chair of NABJ’s Sports Task Force.
“He was a star who didn't act like one and had time for every aspiring journalists,” Spears added. “Most of the elite journalists aren't as good as him and aren't as humble as him either."
“Bryan was a giant in the industry and a role model to many, many people,” said NABJ Secretary Lee Ivory, former executive editor and publisher of USA TODAY Sports Weekly. “Not only that, Bryan was one hell of a nice guy who really loved people. He loved to laugh. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.”
Post-Dispatch Sports Editor Roger Hensley said in a statement to the paper that Burwell was one of the most well-respected journalists in his field.
''As great as Bryan was as a journalist, he was even better as a teammate, as a co-worker and as a friend,'' Hensley told the Post-Dispatch.
Burwell is survived by his wife, Dawn, and a daughter, Victoria.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.