Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of long-time ESPN commentator John Saunders, who passed away suddenly on Aug. 10, 2016.
At the time, ESPN President John Skipper noted, “John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen.”
— ESPN Citizenship (@ESPNCitizenship) August 10, 2017
Earlier this week, John’s brother Bernie and widow, Wanda, appeared on Good Morning America with John’s long-time friend and colleague Robin Roberts. They discussed John’s incredible professional impact as well as the personal battles John faced, many of which are outlined in the book John co-authored before his death — Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope.
Playing Hurt was released this week and it outlines John’s personal struggles with depression. Designed to help others who may be dealing with similar circumstances, the book includes these meaningful words from John: “People only see what’s on the outside. When you’re depressed, the pain and darkness you feel on the inside can eclipse everything you have going for you on the outside.”
The co-author of John’s book, John U. Bacon, is at ESPN today appearing on various programs, beginning with Mike and Mike.
John joined ESPN in 1986 and hosted and/or handled play-by-play for a variety of sports throughout his illustrious career. He was a founding member and passionate board member of the V Foundation, created in the memory of his close friend and colleague Jim Valvano.
After John’s passing, a grant was established in his name to support research aimed at stopping children’s cancers. Since that time, The John Saunders Grant for Pediatric Research at the V Foundation has raised more than $670,000.