ESPN remembers Bryan Burwell, former panelist on The Sports Reporters

(L-R) Bryan Burwell, Jemele Hill, John Saunders and Mike Lupica on The Sports Reporters. (ESPN)
(L-R) Bryan Burwell, Jemele Hill, John Saunders and Mike Lupica on the September 14 edition of The Sports Reporters. (ESPN)
Bryan Burwell
Bryan Burwell

The ESPN family sends its condolences and thoughts to the family and friends of Bryan Burwell, a frequent panelist on The Sports Reporters. Burwell, who passed away early this morning, last appeared on ESPN on Sept. 14.

His & Hers co-host Jemele Hill was part of that day’s show.

“I knew Bryan Burwell long before he became a friend and mentor,” Hill said. “Growing up in Detroit, one of my daily rituals was reading his column in the Detroit News. He provided an early example that stoked my passion for sports journalism. I was humbled when we were able to establish a personal friendship as I grew in this business. He was a gifted, thoughtful writer, and among my favorite people to work with on The Sports Reporters.

“But I’ll treasure most who he was as a person. He was one of the most honest, dedicated and genuine people I’ve ever known in this business. I will miss him deeply.”

Joseph Valerio, The Sports Reporters’ Executive Producer, also remembered Burwell.

“He was an excellent reporter, columnist and radio and television commentator who covered all the big events throughout his distinguished career,” Valerio said, “earning the respect and admiration of all who worked with him and knew him; not just other journalists, but players and coaches as well. He was a good man and he will be terribly missed by all of us who were fortunate to have known him.”

ESPN New York 98.7FM and New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica recalls a September show with Burwell.

“Everything about him that Sunday morning was as big as it ever was, big opinions and a wonderful big voice and, as always, big fun,” he said. “Most of all, he was a big talent. It always starts there. We were young together at the New York Daily News, chasing after the next game or the next story, from the World Series to the Super Bowl to the Olympics.

“Even then, you could see that he was the one with so much game, that he had the words and the opinions and the personality. You could see that he was going to be the star of our business that he became. St. Louis was perfect for him, a great sports place that was perfect for Bryan’s great voice, in his column and on the radio. Pete Hamill once said that a columnist’s voice was like a boxer’s left hand, you either have one or you don’t. Bryan Burwell did, along with the humanity that he always brought to this business. I will miss that voice, as much as I will miss him.”

Thursday’s Outside the Lines (ESPN2, 5:30 p.m. ET) hosted by Andy Katz, included a tribute to Burwell. Sunday’s edition of The Sports Reporters also will include a tribute to Burwell from former colleague John Saunders. There were reactions to Burwell’s passing throughout the sports world.

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